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SIX ARCHETYPES WE LIVE BY 




CAROL S. PEARSON 



KANSAS CITY, MO PUBLIC LIBI 




THE HERO 

DATE DUE 



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Demco, Inc 38-293 



Pearson, Carol, 1944- 

The hero within : six 
archetypes we live by / 
C1989, 



THE HERO 
WITHIN 

Six Archetypes 
We Live By 

Expanded Edition 



Carol S. Pearson, Ph.D. 



ffl 



1817 
Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco 

New York, Grand Rapids, Philadelphia, St. Louis 
London, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto 



Carol S. Pearson and her colleagues at Meristem offer workshops, 
seminars, and individual and organizational consultation designed 
to help people further their heroic journeys in their work and pri- 
vate lives. For more information, call or write: Meristem, 4307 
Underwood Street, University Park, Maryland, 20782, or phone: 
(301) 277-8042. 



THE HERO WITHIN: Six Archetypes We Live By. Copyright 1986, 1989 
by Carol S. Pearson. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States 
of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any 
manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of 
brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For infor- 
mation address Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, 
New York, NY 10022. 

Revised Edition 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Pearson, Carol, 1944- 
The hero within: six archetypes we live by / Carol S. Pearson. 

Expanded ed. 
p. cm. 
Bibliography: p. 
ISBN 0-06-254862-X 

1. Archetype (Psychology) 2. Self-actualization (Psychology) 
3. New Age movement. I. Title. 

BF175.5.A72P43 1989 85-51996 

150.19'54 dc 19 CIP 

90 91 92 93 MUR 10 9 8 7 6 



With love and gratitude 
For the depth of his faith 
And the power of his example, 
I dedicate this book to my father, 

JOHN A. PEARSON 



Here we are opening into the "the religion of psychology" by suggesting 
that psychology is a variety of religious experience. 

Psychology as religion implies imagining all psychological events as effects 
of Gods in the soul, and all activities to do with soul, such as therapy, to 
be operations of ritual in relation to these Gods. ... It is not a question of 
religion turning to psychology no, psychology is simply going home. 

JAMES HILLMAN, Re-Visioning Psychology 



Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from 
the following works: Re-Visioning Psychology, by James Hillman. Copyright 
1975 by James Hillman. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Pub- 
lishers, Inc. The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950, by T. S. Eliot. 
Copyright 1971 by Esme Valerie Eliot. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt 
Brace Jovanovich, Inc. The Search, by Tom Brown, Jr., with William Owen. 
Copyright 1980 by Tom Brown, Jr., and William Owen. Reprinted by 
permission of Prentice-Hall, Inc. At the Edge of the Body, by Erica Jong. 
Copyright 1979 Erica Jong. Reprinted by permission of the Sterling Lord 
Agency, Inc. The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, by Wallace Stevens. 
Copyright 1954 by Wallace Stevens. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. 
Knopf, Inc. The Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L'Engle. Copyright 1973 
by Crosswicks, Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 
Inc. The Fool and His Scepter, by William Willeford. Copyright 1969 by 
William Willeford. Reprinted by permission of Northwestern University 
Press. The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Copyright 1983 
by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Reprinted by permission of the author. Energy 
and Personal Power, by Shirley Gehrke Luthman. Copyright 1982 by Shir- 
ley Gehrke Luthman. Reprinted by permission of Mehetabel and Co. Wheel 
We, Wee All the Way Home, by Matthew Fox. Copyright 1981 by Bear and 
Company, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Bear & Co. The Realms of Gold, 
by Margaret Drabble. Copyright 1976 by Margaret Drabble. Reprinted by 
permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. 
Copyright 1982 by Alice Walker. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt 
Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Women and Nature, by Susan Griffin. Copyright 
1978 by Susan Griffin. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Pub- 
lishers, Inc. The New English Bible, Copyright 1961 , 1970 by the Delegates 
of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University 
Press. Used with permission. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



My standard of "truth" in writing this book was not an external 
measure but my own practical knowledge. What I have said has 
served me well in my own life. I have applied and tested what I 
have discovered from my reading, observation, research, and listen- 
ing to my friends, colleagues, and students and in my interactions 
with others. I share here the truths that have survived this test. 

You also should know about certain people and groups who have 
had a profound impact on my thinking and my life, without whom 
I would not have written this book. To Katherine Pope, with whom 
I wrote two books, I give thanks for sharpening my ideas and for 
the experience of sisterly collaboration. 

To Anne Schaef my heartfelt thanks for being the closest thing I 
have ever had to a mentor. In the six years I worked on staff in her 
Intensives for Professional Women, my ideas about life were changed 
profoundly. Anne Schaef 's ideas about the differences between male 
and female systems, her articulation of the ways in which mental 
and emotional health comes when we learn to "live in process," and 
the experience of working with her radically transformed my life and 
my work. I am equally grateful to others on her staff, especially Liv 
Estrup, Deborah Carver Marstellar, Rosemary Rocco, and Jill Schu- 
macher, who taught me much about living in process and about per- 
sonal responsibility and spirituality. 

Thanks also to Marni Harmony, who introduced me to the ideas 
of Patricia Sun and the New Age Movement, and to the "Miracles 
Group" in Charlotte, North Carolina, for what they taught me about 
the Magician, especially Carol Rupert, Judy Billman, Fan Watson, 
and Mary Dawn Liston. 

To Josephine Withers, Dorothy Franklin, Carol Robertson, Bud 
Early, Sharon Seivert, Laurie Lippin, Mary Leonard, and others in 



Xii / THE HERO WITHIN 

my spiritual community for what they have taught me about claiming 
abundance and prosperity and for their love and support. I can no 
longer imagine living without such a loving community. To my hus- 
band, David Merkowitz, and my children, Jeff, Steve, and Shanna, 
my deep appreciation for their love, support, and tolerance of my 
long hours at the word processor and my general abstractedness dur- 
ing the process of writing this book. 

I also am deeply indebted for their encouragement and criticism 
to colleagues and students who read and commented upon the manu- 
script: Sharon Seivert was particularly supportive and generous with 
her time, making specific editorial suggestions, spending many long 
lunches discussing potential ideas and ways to structure the book's 
chapters and increase its readability. I had the good fortune to take 
David Oldfield's "Hero's Journey" workshop as I was completing the 
process of revising the manuscript, and his ideas and suggestions 
were invaluable for my last-minute reordering and fine tuning of 
concepts. I also am grateful for David Merkowitz' s expert assistance 
in final editing and proofing of the manuscript. 

Other people who read and commented on the manuscript and 
whose insights were essential included Lee Knefelkamp, Josephine 
Withers, Deborah Marstellar, Dorothy Franklin, Gary Ferraro, Jessy 
Leonard, Judy Touchton, and the students of my Fall 1984 course, 
"Women's Culture and Social Change," at the University of 
Maryland. 

Finally, I wish to thank the Women's Studies Program at the Uni- 
versity of Maryland for providing a supportive and challenging work- 
ing environment, the university for the sabbatical leave that provided 
me with the time to write this book, and to the students of my course, 
"Women, Art, and Culture" for motivating me to do so. 



CONTENTS 



Preface to the Expanded Edition xv 

Preface to the First Edition xix 

Introduction xxv 

1 . The Hero's Journey 1 

2. From Innocent to Orphan 25 

3. The Wanderer 51 

4. The Warrior 74 

5. The Martyr 98 

6. The Magician 116 

7. The Return 151 

8. How to Use (and Not Use) This Book 157 

Exercises for the Hero Within 167 

Appendixes 197 

Notes 207 



Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from 
the following works: Re-Visioning Psychology, by James Hillman. Copyright 
1975 by James Hillman. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Pub- 
lishers, Inc. The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950, by T. S. Eliot. 
Copyright 1971 by Esme Valerie Eliot. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt 
Brace Jovanovich, Inc. The Search, by Tom Brown, Jr., with William Owen. 
Copyright 1980 by Tom Brown, Jr., and William Owen. Reprinted by 
permission of Prentice-Hall, Inc. At the Edge of the Body, by Erica Jong. 
Copyright 1979 Erica Jong. Reprinted by permission of the Sterling Lord 
Agency, Inc. The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, by Wallace Stevens. 
Copyright 1954 by Wallace Stevens. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. 
Knopf, Inc. The Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L'Engle. Copyright 1973 
by Crosswicks, Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 
Inc. The Fool and His Scepter, by William Willeford. Copyright 1969 by 
William Willeford. Reprinted by permission of Northwestern University 
Press. The Mists ofAvalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Copyright 1983 
by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Reprinted by permission of the author. Energy 
and Personal Power, by Shirley Gehrke Luthman. Copyright 1982 by Shir- 
ley Gehrke Luthman. Reprinted by permission of Mehetabel and Co. Wheel 
We, Wee All the Way Home, by Matthew Fox. Copyright 1981 by Bear and 
Company, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Bear & Co. The Realms of Gold, 
by Margaret Drabble. Copyright 1976 by Margaret Drabble. Reprinted by 
permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. 
Copyright 1982 by Alice Walker. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt 
Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Women and Nature, by Susan Griffin. Copyright 
1978 by Susan Griffin. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Pub- 
lishers, Inc. The New English Bible, Copyright 1961, 1970 by the Delegates 
of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University 
Press. Used with permission. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



My standard of "truth" in writing this book was not an external 
measure but my own practical knowledge. What I have said has 
served me well in my own life. I have applied and tested what I 
have discovered from my reading, observation, research, and listen- 
ing to my friends, colleagues, and students and in my interactions 
with others. I share here the truths that have survived this test. 

You also should know about certain people and groups who have 
had a profound impact on my thinking and my life, without whom 
I would not have written this book. To Katherine Pope, with whom 
I wrote two books, I give thanks for sharpening my ideas and for 
the experience of sisterly collaboration. 

To Anne Schaef my heartfelt thanks for being the closest thing I 
have ever had to a mentor. In the six years I worked on staff in her 
Intensives for Professional Women, my ideas about life were changed 
profoundly. Anne Schaef 's ideas about the differences between male 
and female systems, her articulation of the ways in which mental 
and emotional health comes when we learn to "live in process," and 
the experience of working with her radically transformed my life and 
my work. I am equally grateful to others on her staff, especially Liv 
Estrup, Deborah Carver Marstellar, Rosemary Rocco, and Jill Schu- 
macher, who taught me much about living in process and about per- 
sonal responsibility and spirituality. 

Thanks also to Marni Harmony, who introduced me to the ideas 
of Patricia Sun and the New Age Movement, and to the "Miracles 
Group" in Charlotte, North Carolina, for what they taught me about 
the Magician, especially Carol Rupert, Judy Billman, Fan Watson, 
and Mary Dawn Liston. 

To Josephine Withers, Dorothy Franklin, Carol Robertson, Bud 
Early, Sharon Seivert, Laurie Lippin, Mary Leonard, and others in 



Xii / THE HERO WITHIN 

my spiritual community for what they have taught me about claiming 
abundance and prosperity and for their love and support. I can no 
longer imagine living without such a loving community. To my hus- 
band, David Merkowitz, and my children, Jeff, Steve, and Shanna, 
my deep appreciation for their love, support, and tolerance of my 
long hours at the word processor and my general abstractedness dur- 
ing the process of writing this book. 

I also am deeply indebted for their encouragement and criticism 
to colleagues and students who read and commented upon the manu- 
script: Sharon Seivert was particularly supportive and generous with 
her time, making specific editorial suggestions, spending many long 
lunches discussing potential ideas and ways to structure the book's 
chapters and increase its readability. I had the good fortune to take 
David Oldfield's "Hero's Journey" workshop as I was completing the 
process of revising the manuscript, and his ideas and suggestions 
were invaluable for my last-minute reordering and fine tuning of 
concepts. I also am grateful for David Merkowitz 's expert assistance 
in final editing and proofing of the manuscript. 

Other people who read and commented on the manuscript and 
whose insights were essential included Lee Knefelkamp, Josephine 
Withers, Deborah Marstellar, Dorothy Franklin, Gary Ferraro, Jessy 
Leonard, Judy Touchton, and the students of my Fall 1984 course, 
"Women's Culture and Social Change," at the University of 
Maryland. 

Finally, I wish to thank the Women's Studies Program at the Uni- 
versity of Maryland for providing a supportive and challenging work- 
ing environment, the university for the sabbatical leave that provided 
me with the time to write this book, and to the students of my course, 
"Women, Art, and Culture" for motivating me to do so. 



CONTENTS 



Preface to the Expanded Edition xv 

Preface to the First Edition xix 

Introduction xxv 

1 . The Hero's Journey 1 

2. From Innocent to Orphan 25 

3. The Wanderer 51 

4. The Warrior 74 

5. The Martyr 98 

6. The Magician 116 

7. The Return 151 

8. How to Use (and Not Use) This Book 157 

Exercises for the Hero Within 167 

Appendixes 197 

Notes 207 



PREFACE TO THE EXPANDED EDITION 



I was inspired initially to write The Hero Within out of a concern 
that we would not be able to solve the great political, social, and 
philosophical problems of our time if so many of us persisted in 
seeing the hero as "out there" or "up there," beyond ourselves. The 
book was meant as a call to the quest, to challenge readers to claim 
their own heroism and to take^their own journeys. This call is not 
about becoming bigger or better or more important than anyone else. 
We all matter. Every one of us has an essential contribution to make, 
and we can do so only by taking the risk of being uniquely our own 
selves. 

Underneath the frantic absorption in the pursuit of money, status, 
power, and pleasure and the addictive and obssessive behaviors cur- 
rent today is, we all know, a sense of emptiness and a common 
human hunger to go deeper. In writing The Hero Within it seemed 
to me that each one of us wants and needs to find, if not the "meaning 
of life," then the meaning of our own, individual lives, so that we 
can find ways of living and being that are rich, empowered, and 
authentic. 

Yet, even with knowing this, the massive cultural response to the 
Bill Moyers interviews with Joseph Campbell on the PBS series "The 
Power of Myth," along with the enthusiastic reader response to The 
Hero Within, was a pleasant surprise to me. More people than I ever 
dared imagine seem prepared and even eager to respond to the call 
to the heroic quest with an enthusiastic "yes." 

The first edition of The Hero Within sold almost entirely by word 
of mouth. I was fascinated to learn how many readers bought mul- 
tiple copies to give to their friends and coworkers as a way of calling 
them to the quest and, at the same time, creating a sense of com- 
munity that would support their own journeys. Many readers have 



Xvi / THE HERO WITHIN 

complained that copies of the book had a way of disappearing from 
their offices and living rooms, by way, I gather, of friends, lovers, 
relatives, clients, and coworkers. 

Many readers also have written or called to say how The Hero 
Within either named their own experience, or in some other way 
empowered them. I was particularly touched by a man from Perth, 
Australia, who called three times, long-distance, to thank me for 
writing the book, apparently undeterred by always getting my an- 
swering machine. But most of all, I have been moved by stories of 
personal transformation. One young man from the Pacific Northwest 
told me that he had been on drugs and had lost everything. By the 
time a friend gave him The Hero Within, he was living in the woods 
alone. He said he read it, believed it, and changed his life. By the 
time he brought his tattered copy of the book to a lecture for me to 
sign, he was an executive in a small company and generally doing 
well. Such is the power of myth. 

Of course, I do not mean to suggest that every reader of The Hero 
Within was empowered, or even liked the book. One woman, for 
instance, railed at me for writing the "Magician" chapter, wondering 
how the author of such an otherwise useful book could write such 
garbage! Another woman, explaining why she could not get into the 
book told me, "It's clear to me that you want spiritual depth. I just 
want the pain to stop," a response coming from such a deep sense 
of loss and vulnerability that I could not help sympathizing with her 
point of view, no matter how committed I might be to moving 
through the pain to find meaning and thus joy. 

This new expanded edition of The Hero Within has been prompted 
by the most frequent question asked by its readers: "Is it possible to 
do something to encourage the development of an archetype in one's 
own life?" The answer is "yes," and the exercises that have been 
added to the expanded edition are designed to do just that. You may 
choose to do only the exercises for a particular archetype you wish 
to develop or all the exercises, as a way of encouraging wholeness. 
You may work on these exercises by yourself, but doing them with 
others, if it is convenient to do so, is a great way to build friendships 
and communities that support one another's heroic journeys. 

The second most frequently asked question is, "What have you 
learned since writing The Hero Withinl While the more expansive 



PREFACE / Xvii 

answer to that question awaits the completion of two books now in 
progress, the simple answer is that I would now underscore even 
more strongly than I did when I first wrote the book the cyclical 
nature of the journey and the essential equality of the archetypes. 
Were I to rewrite The Hero Within today, I would expand the dis- 
cussion of the positive contribution of the archetype of the Innocent 
and of the downsides of the Magician, especially the dangers of 
raising havoc, as does the Sorcerer's Apprentice, if we take on more 
than we can handle, or do harm, as does the Evil Sorcerer, if we 
use the Magician's power for egocentric and inhumane ends. 

Finally, readers have asked me about the impact on my own life 
of publishing this book. The impact on my external life has been 
considerable, parachuting me out of college teaching and adminis- 
tration into assuming the presidency of an educational and consulting 
organization. In this role, I am able to write, speak, conduct work- 
shops and training sessions, and consult with organizations full-time, 
about ways of listening to the heroes within as we take our individual 
and collective journeys. The impact on my internal life has been no 
less great. Knowing that so many feel resonance with a mythic per- 
spective on their lives energizes my work and increases my optimism 
about our society's future. For this and for much, much more, I am 
deeply thankful. 



PREFACE 



Writing this book was, in part, an homage to the archetypes that 
have helped me grow as a person and a scholar. It also was an 
exercise in synthesis, utilizing insights from a number of traditions 
besides archetypal psychology that have influenced my work and my 
life. Among those are feminist theory (including formulations about 
female systems), process therapy, developmental psychology, and the 
insights of the New Age movement. This work also is my fourth 
book-length study of heroic journey patterns and as such grows out 
of my prior work. 

My dissertation focused on heroes and fools in contemporary fic- 
tion. In it I defined a cultural paradigm shift from a heroic con- 
sciousness to the anti-hero to the fool, or trickster, who provided an 
alternative, comic, and optimistic vision about possibilities for full- 
ness of life even in the modern world. Later, influenced by the fem- 
inist movement, 1 became interested in images of women in 
literature. In particular I explored the interaction between the cultural 
stories that named women as virgins, whores, helpmates, and moth- 
ers, and identity formation in women. How is it that we, as women, 
come to know who we are? How healthy are the stories that have 
been available to us? The outcome of this research was an anthology, 
coedited with Katherine Pope, called Who Am 1 This Time? Female 
Portraits in American and British Literature 1 (McGraw-Hill, 1976). 
In exploring these portraits, Katherine Pope and I identified three 
heroic images for women: the sage, the artist, and the warrior. 

Writing that book helped rne understand not only that many of our 
socialization patterns are based upon limiting stereotypes, but also 
that it is not possible simply to decide they are not good for us and 
then ignore them. The stereotypes are laundered, domesticated ver- 
sions of the archetypes from which they derive their power. The 



XX / THE HERO WITHIN 

shallow stereotype seems controllable and safe, but it brings then 
less, not more, life. The archetype behind it is full of life and power. 

When Katherine Pope and I moved through the limiting stereotypes 
to the empowering archetypes behind them, we discovered a rich and 
hitherto unexplored tradition of female heroism. In writing my own 
dissertation, it had never occurred to me to question whether the 
patterns I was identifying as characteristic of human heroism in the 
contemporary world might be different if the hero were female. We 
determined to explore stories about female protagonists and delineate 
the pattern of female heroism. We found that, although on the ar- 
chetypal level the patterns of male and female heroism were quite 
similar, they differed profoundly in detail, tone, and meaning from 
analogous stories about men. Moreover, the female hero's journey 
was more optimistic and more democratic and equalitarian than her 
male counterpart's. 

This research led to the publication of The Female Hero in Amer- 
ican and British Literature. 2 In the years since, readers' responses 
to the book have convinced me of the power of making explicit the 
myths that govern our lives. When we do not name them, we are 
hostages to them and can do nothing else but live out their plots to 
the end. When we name them, we have a choice about our response. 
We can extricate ourselves from undesirable myths (such as the Cin- 
derella myth, recently identified as creating the Cinderella complex), 
and/or we can respect the archetypal pattern that is exerting control 
over our lives and learn its lesson. 

When I began the study of women's journeys, not much had been 
done at least not much that took into account a feminist perspec- 
tive. The great books on the hero, such as Joseph Campbell's The 
Hero with a Thousand Faces, assumed either that the hero was male 
or that male heroism and female heroism were essentially the same. 3 
Now, with the development of women's studies and widespread 
interest in feminist scholarship, many theorists have begun studying 
women's journey patterns and how they differ from men's. Most such 
works, however, overemphasize differences. 

There is a need now to explore female and male journey patterns 
together, giving serious attention to ways we are the same and ways 
we differ. We still are members of the same species, yet our biology 
and our conditioning are different, as are the opportunities afforded 



PREFACE / 



us by society. As a result, the texture and tone of our journeys differ, 
and so do the plots we act out. 

For groundbreaking conceptualizations about gender differences I 
am indebted especially to the theoretical works of Carol Gilligan (In 
a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Develop- 
ment)* Jessie Bernard (The Female World), 5 and Anne Wilson Schaef 
(Women's Reality: An Emerging Female System in the White Male 
Society). 6 I also am grateful to Anne Schaef, with whom I worked 
for many years, for my understanding of the principles behind pro- 
cess therapy, and in particular a firm belief that we can trust our 
own processes. Shirley Gehrke Luthman's published works (espe- 
cially Collections and Energy and Personal Power) 1 were important 
to me in refining these understandings, especially with regard to the 
concept of mirroring discussed in Chapter 6, The Magician. Star- 
hawk's work on feminist spirituality (The Spiral Dance and Dreaming 
the Dark) also was influential. 8 

My work differs from that of many theorists of gender difference 
in that I emphasize the basic similarities between the sexes as well 
as their differences. I hope that by naming some of the similarities 
and differences, my work will not only make the journey easier and 
less painful for men and women, but improve the communication 
between them. 

Shirley Luthman, along with other New Age thinkers such as Ger- 
ald G. Jampolsky (Love Is Letting Go of Fear) 9 and W. Brugh Joy 
(Joy's Wary), 10 helped me understand that in many ways we choose 
the world we live in. In writing this book, I realized that each of 
the archetypes carries with it a way of seeing the world. The external 
world tends to oblige us by reinforcing our beliefs about it. For 
example, people who see themselves as victims get victimized. Fur- 
ther, even when the world does not mirror us, we see only those 
aspects of the world that fit our current scripts, unless, that is, we 
are developmentally ready to move on. 

I have reservations, however, about some New Age thinking, such 
as that found in books like Richard Bach's Illusions. The external 
world exists and is not totally in a single individual's control. It is 
one thing to believe that we have total responsibility for our lives 
and at the soul level choose the events of our lives, and quite another 
to see everything external to us as illusory. It is critical to developing 



XXii / THE HERO WITHIN 

into a responsible human to see that other people exist, as do poverty, 
sickness, and suffering. Further, I fear that some New Age thinking 
encourages people to believe they can skip their journeys and live 
returned to Eden without completing critical developmental tasks. 

This book could not have been written without the insights of post- 
Jungian theorists James Hillman and Joseph Campbell. 11 In addition 
to these archetypal psychologists, I am indebted to those develop- 
mental psychologists who work in the area of cognitive and moral 
development such as William Perry (Forms of Intellectual and Eth- 
ical Development in the College Years: A Scheme) , 12 Lawrence Kohl- 
berg (The Philosophy of Moral Development), 1 * and, again, Carol 
Gilligan, and to my colleagues at the University of Maryland, es- 
pecially Faith Gabelnick and Lee Knefelkamp, for what I have 
learned from them. 

Concepts from developmental psychology basic to this book are 
the belief that all human beings go through phases and stages, and 
that the successful completion of one stage makes "possible movement 
to the next, although men and women are likely to experience them 
in different orders and to enact the themes differently. Embedded in 
each stage is a developmental task. Therefore, once you learn how 
to do it, you continue to have that ability. Thus, the stages are ad- 
ditive and not strictly linear. As you grow and change, you add 
themes and your life becomes fuller. This theory departs from many 
stage theories in that it dissociates stage from chronological age, it 
deemphasizes the importance of addressing each learning task in se- 
quence, and it recognizes, at least as acknowledged in this preface, 
cultural relativity. It makes no claim to universal truth. 

Indeed, although this book is the result of many years of study of 
literature and myth and of careful observation of the lives of those 
around me, it is a very personal and subjective offering. A friend 
suggested I might call this book "Carol Pearson at Forty," for it was 
written to acknowledge the end of one phase of my life. I wrote it 
as I was moving out of full-time teaching, as something to hand to 
my students to summarize what I know about life that I most want 
to share with them. 

I am very conscious of the limitations of my own knowledge and 
experience. What I have been able to see and the patterns I have 
been able to identify are biased toward my own experience as a 



PREFACE / XXiii 

white, middle-class woman with a Christian background, a feminist, 
a wife and mother, not to mention an academic. I trust that the reader 
whose life and experience may be very different from mine and who 
thus will know slightly or very different truths from those I share 
here will use this as one point of reference in an ongoing dialogue, 
and will take some time to ponder what he or she knows about the 
gods and goddesses who inform our lives. I certainly will continue 
to do so. But if you happen to see me after a lapse of several years, 
do not ask me to defend ideas in this book. Very likely I will know 
more and may no longer agree with what I have said. Tell me what 
you think, and ask me, if you wish to ask me something, what I 
have learned since writing it. 



INTRODUCTION 



This is a book about the stories that help us make meaning of our 
lives. Our experience quite literally is defined by our assumptions 
about life. We make stories about the world and to a large degree 
live out their plots. What our lives are like depends to great extent 
on the script we consciously, or more likely, unconsciously, have 
adopted. 

Any culture's or individual's myths of the hero tell us about what 
attributes are seen as the good, the beautiful, and the true, and 
thereby teach us culturally valued aspirations. Many of these stories 
are archetypal. Archetypes, as Carl Jung postulated, are deep and 
abiding patterns in the human psyche that remain powerful and pres- 
ent over time. These may exist, to use Jung's terminology, in the 
"collective unconscious," the "objective psyche," or may even be 
coded into the make-up of the human brain. We can see these ar- 
chetypes clearly in dreams, art, literature, and myth that seem to us 
profound, moving, universal, and sometimes even terrifying. We also 
can recognize them when we look at our own lives and those of our 
friends. By observing what we do and how we interpret what we 
do, we can identify the archetypes that inform our lives. Sometimes 
we even can recognize the archetypes dominant in someone's life by 
their body language. A person trudging along in a stoop as if every 
step were a chore is possessed by the Martyr archetype, while another 
person, whose life is controlled by the archetype of the Warrior, 
walks purposefully, chin jutting out aggressively, body leaning for- 
ward as if striving to meet a goal. 

Archetypes are numerous. How is it then that I write a book about 
only six of them? Although there may be quite a large number of 
archetypal plots available to us, most do not have the influence upon 
our development that these six do, For an archetype to have a major 



XXvi / THE HERO WITHIN 

influence upon our lives, there must be some external duplication or 
reinforcement of the pattern: an event in one's life or stories re- 
counted in the culture that activate the pattern. Therefore, both our 
personal histories and our culture influence which archetypes will be 
dominant in our lives. Although the archetypes may, as Jung argues, 
be timeless and transcend culture, this book about them is more cul- 
ture-specific, for what I am describing here are some of the arche- 
typal patterns, or stories, that preside over individual development 
in Western culture. Were I writing about heroism in African or Jap- 
anese culture, this book would be quite different (although because 
of the degree to which Western culture influences these societies, 
many of its insights might have contemporary relevance for 
them). 

Furthermore, the archetypes discussed in this work are those im- 
portant to the hero's journey, that is, a journey of individuation. 
These are the archetypes manifested in our daylight worlds that help 
us define a strong ego, and then expand the boundaries of the ego 
to allow for the full flowering of the self and its opening up to the 
experience of oneness with other people and with the natural and 
spiritual worlds. 

Here I am using Carl Jung's terminology, according to which the 
ego is that part of the psyche that experiences separation. At first, 
the young child feels little or no separation from the environment, 
and especially none from the mother. It is only as the adult completes 
the task of strong ego development that his or her boundaries can 
expand and make way for the self. This includes (in each of us) not 
only the full conscious self, but the personal unconscious and access 
to archetypal images emerging from the collective unconscious. The 
result is not only z renewed sense of wonder and oneness with the 
cosmos, but a reclaiming and redefinition of magical thinking. 1 

The journey described here is more circular or spiral than linear. 
It begins with the complete trust of the Innocent, moves on to the 
longing for safety of the Orphan, the self-sacrifice of the Martyr, the 
exploring of the Wanderer, the competition and triumph of the War- 
rior, and then the authenticity and wholeness of the Magician. In 
much-simplified, graphic form, the archetypes' approach to life looks 
like this: 



INTRODUCTION / XXVii 

Innocent Orphan Martyr Wanderer Warrior Magician 

Goal None Safety Goodness Autonomy Strength Wholeness 

Task Fall Hope Ability to Identity Courage Joy/faith 

give up 

Fear Loss of Abandonment Selfishness Conformity Weakness Superficiality 
Paradise 

(A more detailed chart appears on pages 20 and 21.) 

The archetypes identified here are not the typical ones usually in- 
cluded by Jungians as critical to the individuation process. Most 
works of Jungian psychology use dreams and rather exotic mythic 
texts to get at unconscious psychological formulations. Our purpose 
here is to explore the archetypes active in our conscious lives. Most 
Jungians focus on dreams because our culture and hence our social- 
ization patterns have defined so much archetypal material as bad or 
wrong. In fact, diving into the depths of the unconscious too often 
has been discouraged because it is going, according to cultural 
mythic geography, into the underworld the devil's place. So we 
repress and censor what goes on there to keep it from our conscious 
minds. 

This work can look at the more conscious manifestations of ar- 
chetypes partly because it addresses those that are congruent with 
our culture's present point in its evolution, and because the culture 
we live in now is less repressive. Exploring the unconscious has 
become culturally acceptable, even desirable. Different approaches 
are appropriate for different times. Jung was writing at a time and 
place that greatly encouraged psychological repression. Most people 
had little or no understanding of their inner motivations. Our time, 
however, is greatly influenced by psychology, and a large percentage 
of the population is quite literate about the workings of the psyche. 
Therefore, we do not always have to move to dreams or other forms 
of uncensored expression to find out what is true for us. We simply 
have more access now to unconscious material, more skills for deal- 
ing with it, and more cultural permission to experiment with different 
feelings and ways of being and acting in the world than Jung's pa- 
tients did. Our psyches need not hide so much from us, and the 
archetypes need not seem so foreign and threatening. Indeed, that is 
why I used ordinary, well-known words to describe them, rather than 



XXViii / THE HERO WITHIN 

the exotic names of ancient gods and goddesses or psychological 
terms, such as anima or animus, which may seem intimidating to 
some. 

The point is that we can be safe and at home in our own psyches, 
and we need not spend years studying psychology to be able to con- 
verse with ourselves. We know the language of the archetypes, for 
they live within us. Ancient folk also knew the language. For them, 
the archetypes were the gods and goddesses who were concerned 
with everything in their lives from the most ordinary to the most 
profound. Archetypal psychology, in a sense, brings back insights 
from ancient polytheistic theologies, which teach us about the won- 
derfully multiple nature of the human psyche. When these deities, 
or archetypes, are denied, they do not go away. Instead they possess 
us, and what we experience is enslavement, not the liberation they 
ultimately hold out to us. So beware of scorning the gods, for iron- 
ically, it is our very attempts to deny and repress the gods that cause 
their destructive manifestations. 

The archetypes are fundamentally friendly. They are here to help 
us evolve, collectively and individually. In honoring them we grow. 



THE HERO 
WITHIN 



Chapter 1 

THE HERO'S JOURNEY 



He 



Leroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the 
treasure of their true selves. Although they may feel very alone dur- 
ing the quest, at its end their reward is a sense of community: with 
themselves, with other people, and with the earth. Every time we 
confront death-in-life we confront a dragon, and every time we 
choose life over nonlife and move deeper into the ongoing discovery 
of who we are, we vanquish the dragon; we bring new life to our- 
selves and to our culture. We change the world. The need to take 
the journey is innate in the species. If we do not risk, if we play 
prescribed social roles instead of taking our journeys, we feel numb; 
we experience a sense of alienation, a void, an emptiness inside. 
People who are discouraged from slaying dragons internalize the urge 
and slay themselves by declaring war on their fat, their selfishness, 
or some other attribute they think does not please. Or they become 
ill and have to struggle to get well. In shying away from the quest, 
we experience nonlife and, accordingly, we call forth less life in the 
culture. 

The primary subject of modern literature is this experience of 
alienation and despair. The antihero has replaced the hero as the 
central figure in literature precisely because the myth of the hero that 
dominates our culture's view of what it means to take our journeys 
has become^nachronistic^ What we imagine immediately when we 
think of thehero really is only one heroic archetype: the Warrior. 



2 / THE HERO WITHIN 



The Warrior typically takes a long, usually solitary journey, saves 
the day, and rescues the^jamsemn-distress by slaying a dragon or in 
some other way defeating the enemy. 



Gender and the Redefinition of Heroism 

In our culture, the heroic ideal of the Warrior has been reserved 
for men usually only white men at that. Women in this plot are 
cast as damsels-in-distress to be rescued, as witches to be slain, or 
as princesses who, with half the kingdom, serve as the hero's reward. 
Minority men, at least in American literature, typically are cast as 
the loyal sidekick (think of Huck and Jim in Mark Twain's Huck 
Finn or the Lone Ranger and Tonto). 

In The Hero With a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell wrote that 
the hero is "master of the world." 1 And it is the masters of the 
world the kings, the princes, and their poets who have defined 
for us what the heroic ideal is and whose it is. Of course, they 
designed it in their own image and saw heroism as the province of 
the few. With the rise of democracy and the development of the ideal 
of an equalitarian society, first working-class white men and then 
women and minority men began claiming the heroic archetype as 
their own. 

Ironically, just as women, working-class men, and minority men 
are embracing the Warrior archetype, many white middle- and upper- 
class men are expressing great alienation from it. In part, I think 
that is so because, although this archetype is a myth that presides 
over a healthy capacity for assertion and mastery, it also, in its usual 
form, is based upon separation upon cutting oneself off from other 
people and the earth. Many men have discovered that, however sat- 
isfying it is in the short run, the urge to be better than, to dominate 
and control, brings only emptiness and despair. 

The Warrior archetype is also an elitist myth, which at its base 
embodies the notion that some people take their heroic journeys while 
others simply serve and sacrifice. Yet we are all really one; as long 
as we are not all taking our journeys, finding our voices, our talents, 
and making our unique contributions to the world, we start feeling 
less and less alive even the most privileged among us. No one can 
truly profit for long at another's expense. 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 3 

When I first began to examine this myth, I thought virtually all 
of modern malaise was due to the prevalence of the Warrior arche- 
type. Surely, having a "slaying-the-dragon" paradigm for problem 
solving was not going to bring us world peace or eliminate world 
hunger. Later I came to realize that the Warrior archetype is not the 
problem per se, for it is developrnentally critical to the evolution of 
human consciousness. Certainly it is as critical for women and mi- 
nority men as it is for white men, even though the archetype gets 
redefined somewhat when everyone gets into the act instead of only 
a privileged few. The problem is that focusing on only this heroic 
archetype limits everyone's options. Many white men, for example, 
feel^ennupbecause they need to grow beyond the Wamo&^nodality^ 
yet they find themselves stuck there because it not only is defined 
as the heroic ideal but is also equated with masculinity. Men con- 
sciously or unconsciously believe they cannot give up that definition 
of themselves without also giving up their sense of superiority to 
others especially to women. 

In doing research for Who Am I This Timel and later for The 
Female Hero in American and British Literature, 2 1 realized that the 
belief that there are no true heroines in modern literature simply is 
not accurate. Women, for example, as Katherine Pope and I showed 
in The Female Hero, often are portrayed heroically. Encouraged by 
feminism, many women enact the Warrior archetype. But that is not 
the whole story. They also are exploring patterns of heroism that, at 
first, seemed to me to be specific to women. This mode, which is 
different from men's, is based upon integrity rather than on slaying 
dragons. Female heroes often even flee dragons! While male heroes 
like Owen Wister's Virginian (in The Virginian) would leave even 
their bride on the wedding day to fight a duel (for honor's sake), 
women tend to assume that it simply is good sense to run from 
danger. Further, they do not see slaying dragons as very practical, 
since the people who often entrap women are husbands, mothers, 
fathers, children, friends people who insist that good women forgo 
their own journeys to serve others. That is why there often are no 
true villains in stories about female heroes. Or at least it does not 
occur to the hero to slay them. 

I was pleased to discover that women had developed an alternative 
to the hero-kills-the-villain-and-rescues-the-victim plot, one with no 



4 / THE HERO WITHIN 

real villains or victims just heroes. This mode of heroism seemed 
to offer hope that there is a form of heroism that can not only bring 
new life to us all, but do it in an equalitarian way. However, this 
mode of heroism could never fully blossom if only one sex seemed 
to know about it. While I observed all around me women optimis- 
tically playing out a hero/hero/hero script, most men I knew were 
acting out the old hero/villain/victim one. Men who could not be the 
hero in that old definition found the only other role available to them 
was the victim, or antihero. But then I noticed some men and some 
male characters in literature who had also discovered the hero/hero/ 
hero plot and were feeling fully alive, joyous, and heroic in acting 
it out. 

I began to recognize that men and women go through albeit in 
somewhat different forms and sometimes in a slightly different or- 
der the same basic stages of growth in claiming their heroism. And 
ultimately for both,] heroism is a matter of integrity, of becoming 
more and more themselves at each stage in their development.} Par- 
adoxically, there are archetypal patterns that govern the process each 
of us goes through to discover our uniqueness, so we are always both 
very particularly ourselves and very much like one another in the 
stages of our journeys. In fact, there is a rather predictable sequence 
of human development presided over respectively by the archetypes 
of the Innocent, the Orphan, the Wanderer, the Warrior, the Martyr, 
and the Magician, even though our culture has encouraged men and 
women to identify with them differently. 



The Archetypes and Human Development 

The Innocent and the Orphan set the stage: The Innocent lives in 
the prefallen state of grace; the Orphan confronts the reality of the 
Fall. The next few stages are strategies for living in a fallen world: 
The Wanderer begins the task of finding oneself apart from others; 
the Warrior learns to fight to defend oneself and to change the world 
in one's own image; and the Martyr learns to give, to commit, and 
to sacrifice for others. The progression, then, is from suffering, to 
self-definition, to struggle, to love. 
\ It was clear to me that the heroism of the Wanderer is not defined 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 5 

by fighting. It is the very act of leaving an oppressive situation and 
Igoing out alone to face the unknown that is the Wanderer's heroic 
ct for men or women. 

But at first I missed the heroism of the Martyr, since more modern 
literature celebrates liberation from the older ideal of sacrifice. The 
antimartyr feeling is particularly strong in literature about women, 
because female socialization and cultural norms have reinforced mar- 
tyrdom and sacrifice for women well into the twentieth century. 
Women have been cramped by the Martyr role even more than white 
men have been by the Warrior-only role. Looking again at the ar- 
chetype of the Martyr, I began to respect its power and to see why, 
for example, Christianity, with the centrality of the image of Christ 
martyred on the cross, so appealed to women and minorities, and 
also why suffering and martyrdom have been so important in Ju- 
daism, especially in the many times and places marked by anti- 
Semitism. 

I discovered the emergence of an ancient archetype heretofore re- 
served for even fewer people than the Warrior and that now is being 
redefined as a mode of heroism available to everyone. In this mode, 
the hero is a Magician or Shaman. After learning to change one's 
environment by great discipline, will, and struggle, the Magician 
learns to move with the energy of the universe and to attract what 
is needed by laws of synchronicity , so that the ease of the Magician's 
interaction with the universe seems like magic. Having learned to 
trust the self, the Magician comes full circle and, like the Innocent, 
finds that it is safe to trust. 

Each of the archetypes carries with it a worldview, and with that 
different life goals and theories about what gives life meaning. Or- 
phans seek safety and fear exploitation and abandonment. Martyrs 
want to be good, and see the world as a conflict between good (care 
and responsibility) and bad (selfishness and exploitation). Wanderers 
want independence and fear conformity. Warriors strive to be strong, 
to have an impact upon the world, and to avoid ineffectiveness and 
passivity. Magicians aim to be true to their inner wisdom and to be 
in balance with the energies of the universe. Conversely, they try to 
avoid the inauthentic and the superficial. 

Each archetype projects its own learning task onto the world. Peo- 
ple governed by an archetype will see its goal as ennobling and its 



6 / THE HERO WITHIN 

worst fear as the root of all the world's problems. They complain 
about other people's ruthlessness, conformism, weakness, selfish- 
ness, or shallow ness. Many misunderstandings arise from this. The 
Wanderer's independence often looks to the Martyr like the selfish- 
ness Martyrs abhor. The Warrior's assertiveness may appear to the 
Orphan like ruthlessness. And when the Magician proclaims that if 
the response is genuine, it is perfectly fine to act in any way, in- 
cluding all the ways you formerly feared and rejected (selfish, lazy, 
etc.), it sounds to almost everyone else like the worst kind of license! 

At the Magician's level, however, dualities begin to break down. 
The Orphan's fear of pain and suffering is seen as the inevitable 
underside of a definition of safety that assumes that life should be 
only pleasurable and easy. Magicians believe that in fact we are safe 
even though we often experience pain and suffering. They are part 
of life, and ultimately we all are held in God's hand. Similarly, 
Magicians see that it is an unbalanced focus on giving that creates 
selfishness. The task is not to be caring of others instead of thinking 
about oneself, but to learn how to love and care for ourselves as 
well as our neighbor. 

Magicians see beyond the notion of individualism versus conform- 
ity to the knowledge that we each are unique and we all are one. 
Beyond strength versus weakness, they come to understand that as- 
sertion and receptivity are yang and yin a life rhythm, not a dual- 
ism. Finally, they know that it is not even possible to be inauthentic, 
for we can be only who we are. Inevitably, we do take our rightful 
place in the universe. 

Each archetype moves us through duality into paradox. Within 
each is a continuum from a primitive to a more sophisticated and 
complex expression of its essential energy. The chapters that follow 
describe the archetypes and the stages of awareness the hero en- 
counters in exploring each one. The pattern described is schematic, 
however, so it is important to recognize while reading it that people 
do not go through these stages lockstep. Individuals chart their own 
unique courses through these "stages," and there are predictable dif- 
ferences in the ways people encounter them. This holds true in gen- 
eral for many cultural groups different ethnic or racial groups, 
people from different countries or regions but in this work, because 
of my own background and experience, I will focus on differences 
between men and women. 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 7 

For example, male and female modes of heroism seem different 
because men linger longer in some stages and women in others. 
Because women are socialized to nurture and serve, and perhaps also 
because women give birth, their lives tend to be overly dominated 
by the Martyr archetype even before they have had the opportunity 
to explore the possibilities embodied by the Wanderer and the War- 
rior. Men, on the other hand, are pushed into having control over 
their lives and power over others, into being Warriors, before they 
know who they are. They get to the Warrior stage quickly but then 
get stuck there and not only there, but often at its more primitive 
levels. They often have little or no encouragement and few male role 
models for developing their capacities for sensitivity, care, and 
commitment. 

Women often do not like the Warrior stage and, hence, either re- 
fuse that journey or, if they embark upon it, whiz right on through 
it to become Magicians. That's why, I think, the changes I describe 
as the Wandering and Warrioring stages appear in Carol Gilligan's 
pioneering work, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and 
Women's Development, as a mere "transition" stage between a mo- 
rality based on care of others (sacrifice) and, at a higher level, one 
in which the self is filtered back into the picture (interdependence). 3 

Women seem to linger in the stages that emphasize affiliation 
(Martyr and Magician) and men in those that emphasize separateness 
and opposition (Wanderer and Warrior). As Gilligan has shown, 
women are more likely to see the world in terms of nets and webs 
of connectedness; men see it in terms of ladders and hierarchies, 
where people compete for power. When we look at where most 
women or men are, without seeing the overall developmental pattern, 
it may look as if there are distinct and different male and female 
paths. Or, if one looks just at the paths and not at the different time 
and intensity of commitment to each archetype, it appears that men 
and women are developmentally the same. Neither is true. Men and 
women are developmentally the same; and they are different. 

The typical male pattern of development in this culture is to go 
directly from the Orphan to the Warrior stage and stay there. Move- 
ment occurs, if at all, during the mid-life crisis, when a man is forced 
. into confronting identity issues. Often the result is a more compelling 
concern with issues of intimacy, care, and commitment than he has 
known before. His typical progression looks something like this: 



8 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Orphan Warrior Wanderer Martyr Magician 

The traditional female, on the other hand, moves from the Orphan 
into the Martyr stage, where she may stay the rest of her life, unless 
something propels her to grow. Sometimes when the children leave, 
the husband strays, her self-esteem sinks, or she encounters liberated 
ideas, the resulting identity crisis forces her to ask herself who she 
is, after which she learns to be more assertive. Here is her pattern: 

Orphan Martyr Wanderer Warrior Magician 

A career woman who strives to be independent early in life may 
work on warrioring and martyring simultaneously, being tough at the 
office and all-giving at home. Many men also organize their lives 
this way as well. Whether male or female, the pattern reduces to 
this: 

j*Martyr .^. 

Orphan^ ^Wanderer Magician 

^ Warrior- 



In this case, identity issues are forced when the split seems untenable 
and the conflicting values of the Martyr and the Warrior find enough 
integration that we feel whole again. 

It is important to recognize that men and women, however, do not 
always and inevitably experience these stages in different orders. In- 
dividual differences are great. Moreover, there is a variation on the 
pattern described here by personality type. In Jung's type theory, 
some people are governed by their analytical, thinking process, and 
others by their empathic, feeling modes. Feeling types have a greater 
affinity with the Martyr archetype and thinking types with the Warrior 
mode. What we like we often develop first, waiting to explore our 
less preferred attributes at a later time. Therefore, both women with 
a preference for thinking and men with a preference for feeling are 
likely to work on martyring and warrioring simultaneously because 
one urge is reinforced by sex role conditioning and the other by their 
personality type. 4 

But some generalizations about gender seem to hold up. At this 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 9 

particular time, most men's values are very much defined by the 
Warrior ethic. The way of contemporary women, however, is split. 
Most women either are Martyrs or they have moved quickly through 
the Wanderer and Warrior stages and are beginning to experiment 
with being Magicians. Depending on which group of women you 
notice, you can argue that the Martyr archetype is distinctly female 
in contrast to the Warrior mode, which is distinctly male, or that the 
Magician mode is the new emerging female system in contrast to the 
old patriarchal Warrior way of being in the world. The first position 
has been adopted by conservatives and the second by many feminists. 
Neither is wrong, but neither gives us the whole story, either. 

In the cultural mind, feminists generally are associated with the 
archetype of the Amazon, but truly liberated women seem to have 
a particular affinity for the Magician's way of operating and are lead- 
ing the way into exploring the archetype that presides over the current 
transformation of human consciousness a transformation as impor- 
tant as when men led the way in exploring the possibilities for pos- 
itive (yang) action and aggressiveness as a means to improve the 
world. The discovery that the Magician's wand and staff are appro- 
priate tools for today's world is a profoundly hopeful one for both 
men and women, promising a restoration of peace and loving energy 
between them and between humankind and the earth. 

A New Heroic Paradigm 

The Warrior's life, with its focus on power over other people and 
the earth, is lonely and ultimately tragic. We may complete our jour- 
neys, be rewarded by being made king or queen, but we all know 
that the story goes on. We will, we know, lose power, be replaced 
by the new hero, and die. And our last moments on this earth will 
be marked by the least control over ourselves, other people, the fu- 
ture, and even our bodily functions of any time in life except per- 
haps birth. And it is the end of the story that traditionally determines 
whether the plot is comic or tragic. No wonder modern literature and 
philosophy are so despairing! 

But what if we simply shift our expectations a bit? What if the 
goal of life is not to prevail, but simply to learn? Then the end of 
the story can seem very different; and so can what happens in be- 



10 / THE HERO WITHIN 

tween birth and death. Heroism is redefined as not only moving 
mountains but knowing mountains: being fully oneself and seeing, 
without denial, what is, and being open to learning the lessons life 
offers us. 

Box-Car Bertha's autobiography, Sister of the Road, ends with 
Bertha looking back over a life that has included abandonment by 
her mother at a very young age; a dehumanizing stint as a prostitute 
(culminating in a case of syphilis); and the experience of looking on 
helplessly when one lover was hanged and another run over by a 
train. She declares: "Everything I had ever struggled to learn I found 
I had already survived. ... I had achieved my purpose everything 
I had set out in life to do, I had accomplished. I had wanted to know 
how it felt to be a hobo, a radical, a prostitute, a thief, a reformer, 
a social worker and a revolutionist. Now I knew. I shuddered. Yes, 
it was all worthwhile to me. There were no tragedies in my life. 
Yes, my prayers had been answered." 5 Bertha sees herself as neither 
a suffering Martyr nor a Warrior, but as a Magician who received 
everything she asked for. She both takes responsibility for her choices 
and is thankful for the gift of her life. 

Similarly, Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek surmises that 
life "is often cruel, but always beautiful ... the least we can do is 
try to be there," to be fully in life. She imagines that "the dying 
pray at the last not 'please,' but 'thank you' as a guest thanks his 
host at the door. . . . The universe," she explains, "was not made 
in jest but in solemn, incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is 
unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done 
about it, but ignore it, or see." 6 

Magicians view life as a gift. Our job here is to give our own gift 
and to engage fully with life and other people, letting in and receiving 
some gifts and, of course, taking responsibility to decline others. 
Tragedy, in this view, is a loss of the knowledge of who you are, 
with the result that you do not contribute what you are here to do. 

For example, Gertie, in Harriette Arnow's The Dollrnaker? is a 
six-foot-tall hillbilly who is extremely wise, but she habitually dis- 
counts her wisdom. Becuase she does so, she slowly loses almost 
everything she loves: She loses the Tipton Place (a farm she had 
planned to buy) because she listens to her mother, who says a wom- 
an's duty is to be with her husband, and forgoes the farm to join 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 11 

her husband in Detroit; she loses her favorite daughter because she 
listens to a neighbor who tells her she must not let Cassie play with 
the doll that is her imaginary friend (Cassie sneaks off to play with 
the doll and is run over by a train); she does not take her vocation 
as a sculptor seriously, calling it "whitflin' foolishness," and her 
ultimate act of self-disrespect is chopping up a block of fine cherry 
wood, out of which she has been carving a "laughing Christ," to 
make cheap figurines and crucifixes. The "laughing Christ" is a visual 
image of her life-affirming philosophy in contrast to the deathly Pu- 
ritanism she had been taught by her mother. To chop up that block 
of wood is equivalent to killing or maiming herself. Lest we rniss 
this, earlier in the novel Cassie enjoins her to finish the statue and 
"let her out." "Her," of course, is Gertie. 

The moment in which she chops up the cherry block is genuinely 
tragic, because in doing so she has denied herself and her own vision, 
yet even then it is not without hope. We all have moments of cow- 
ardice, when we deny our wisdom, our integrity, and our divinity. 
Although the novel ends here, we do find that Gertie's self-destruc- 
tive act has forced her into a new level of understanding. Her excuse 
to chop up the cherry block when her family needed money was that 
she could not find the right face for Christ. At the novel's close, she 
says, "They's millions an millions a faces plenty fine enough 
some a my neighbors down there in th alley they would ha done." 

From the vantage point of the Martyr, Gertie may have been seen 
as admirable, because she does almost nothing except sacrifice for 
her husband and children or to please her mother. What makes this 
novel different from conventional stories about women is that Arnow 
portrays her sacrifices as unnecessary and destructive. However, even 
though Gertie often does not claim either her own wisdom or the 
power to change her life, Arnow does not cast her as an antihero, 
either. Gertie is still a hero. While it is clear in the novel how many 
forces external and internal acted on her to reinforce her inability 
to trust herself, she is not portrayed as a helpless victim but as some- 
one with responsibility for the choices she has made. Her life is tragic 
because she cannot act more fully on her heroism. This is, of course, 
similar to Shakespeare's portrayal of Hamlet or Lear. A major dif- 
ference is that Gertie does not die in the end, so we have a sense 
of life as a process that continues. 



12 / THE HERO WITHIN 

From the Warrior's perspective, Gertie's story is tragic. But what 
of the Magician? What if we assumed, as Shirley Luthman does in 
Energy and Personal Power, that our beings attract to us the things 
we need, that we all are working out exactly what we need to learn 
in this life for our growth and development? 8 From this point of view, 
we would posit that Gertie propelled herself into situations from 
which she could learn to trust herself. In doing so, she had first to 
learn with all the attendant pain what happens when she does not 
do so. 

The point is not for her to prove her heroism, as it is for the 
Warrior, but to claim it. The idea of proving heroism is tied up in 
the notion that it is a scarce commodity and that there is a hierarchy 
of people. When we come to understand that the real task is not to 
work hard to prove ourselves but to allow ourselves to be who we 
are, things seem very different. Throughout the novel, Gertie always 
is trying hard to do the right thing or sometimes just to learn what 
the right thing is. She comes to understand at the end that had she 
simply allowed herself to be herself and to go for what she honestly 
wanted, her dreams could have come true. Most likely she would 
have been the owner of the Tipton Place, surrounded by her family, 
completing her sculpture. She realizes in retrospect that she even had 
plenty of support for staying on that farm, but in her self-distrust 
she listened to those voices that undercut her. Even her husband 
explains that he would have supported her had she only trusted him 
enough to tell him what she was doing. 

In the initial stages the Martyr assumes that suffering is simply 
what is. It must be endured by someone, so the Martyr suffers either 
so that others might be happier or to purchase happiness for another 
time. The Warrior discovers that with courage and hard work people 
can take a stand and can make changes for themselves and for 
others. The Magician learns that neither suffering nor struggle is the 
ground of life. Joy is also our birthright. We can attract joy as easily 
as we attract pain, and we need neither martyr ourselves nor struggle 
unduly to make abundant life for ourselves or those we love. 

It is this new mode embodied in the journey of the Magician 
that is the cutting edge of consciousness in contemporary culture, 
and it is the awareness that the Magician's archetype is now an ap- 
propriate, available, and powerful model for ordinary human life that 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 13 

motivates me to write this book. I also write it out of a need to honor 
the Martyr, the Wanderer, and the Warrior. We learn key lessons 
from each lessons we never outgrow. 

Growth as Spiral Toward Wholeness 

These heroic modes are developmental, but they actually are not 
experienced in linear, ever-advancing steps. I would illustrate the 
typical hero's progression as a cone or three-dimensional spiral, in 
which it is possible to move forward while frequently circling back. 
Each stage has its own lesson to teach us, and we reencounter sit- 
uations that throw us back into prior stages so that we may learn and 
relearn the lessons at new levels of intellectual and emotional com- 
plexity and subtlety. In our first tries at warrioring, for example, we 
may come on like Attila the Hun, but later we may learn to assert 
our own wishes so appropriately and gently that we are able to ne- 
gotiate for what we want without any noticeable conflict. And it is 
not so much that the spiral gets higher, but that it gets wider as we 
are capable of a larger range of responses to life and, hence, able 
to have more life. We take in more and have more choices. 

The chart on page 14 summarizes the stages within each archetype. 
The first time around the wheel, many people move through the 
center circle twice until they can move out by mastering the second 
and third levels of learning. While this schematic is helpful concep- 
tually, human development is rarely that neat and tidy. The point is, 
however, that the archetypes are interrelated, and often one cannot 
resolve the psychological or cognitive dilemma embedded in one 
without working through another. Warrior and Martyr are two sides 
of a dualistic formulation about life in which you either take or you 
give. Until you can do both, you can do neither freely . Therefore, 
"we go to school with each archetype many times in our lives. Further, 
events in our lives influence the order and intensity of our learning. 
Any massive change or crisis requires a reconsideration of identity 
issues. Any new commitment raises questions about sacrifice. Each 
time we encounter the same archetype, we have the opportunity to 
do so at a deeper level of understanding. 

The virtues that the hero learns in each guise are never lost or 
outgrown. They just become more subtle. As Innocent, the hero 



14 / THE HERO WITHIN 



Three Turns Around the Hero's Wheel 




THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 15 

learns to trust; as Orphan, to mourn. As Wanderer, the hero learns 
to find and name one's own truth; as Warrior, to assert that truth so 
that it affects and changes the world; and as Martyr, to love, to 
commit, and to let go. 

These virtues all involve some degree of pain or struggle. The 
virtue the Magician adds to these is the ability to recognize and 
receive the abundance of the universe. As the circle widens, the 
Magician gains what the Orphan longed for, the return to the lost 
Eden, first on the microcosmic, personal level, and later on the most 
cosmic level; but instead of experiencing plenty from a childlike, 
dependent position, the Magician enters the garden on the basis of 
interdependence with other people, with nature, and with God. The 
last lesson the hero learns, then, is happiness. 

We carry with us the lesson of each stage into the next, and when 
we do so, its meaning is transformed, but the lesson itself is not lost 
or outgrown. For example, at the first level of martyrdom, heroes 
sacrifice to propitiate the gods or some authority figure. Later, they 
do so simply to help other people. In becoming a Warrior, the hero 
transforms sacrifice into discipline: Some things are sacrificed so that 
other things can be achieved. As Magicians, heroes understand that 
nothing essential ever is lost: Sacrifice becomes the organic and gen- 
tle letting go of the old to make way for new growth, new life. 

To people who move into a stage when it is appropriate for them, 
the myth brings life. When those who are at an earlier stage of 
development jump prematurely into a role, the same archetype makes 
for deadness, for it is not where their true growth lies. Men or women 
who are developmentally ready to move out of the Warrior stage, 
for example, may not be able to do so because they do not know 
there is anything else. They will feel deadened, claustrophobic, 
trapped, just as women who have been trapped in the Martyr role 
may get stuck because they have been told that the archetypes of the 
Wanderer and the Warrior are roles reserved only for men. Many 
women have expressed their excitement about The Female Hero in 
American and British Literature because the book reclaimed hero- 
ism especially the Wanderer's and the Warrior's journeys as an 
appropriate aspiration for women, and thus helped them move along 
on their journeys. I now hope that by reclaiming what is valuable in 
the Martyr archetype and by describing the archetype of the Magician 



16 / THE HERO WITHIN 

I can help make the journey easier and less painful for both women 
and men. 

I also believe that we all have access to every mode all the time. 
What "stage" we are in has to do with where we "hang out" the 
most, where we spend the greatest percentage of our time. The most 
oppressed victim will have moments of transcendence. And none of 
us gets so advanced that we stop feeling, every once in awhile, like 
a motherless child. In fact, each stage has a gift for us, something 
critical to teach us about being human. 

Suggestions to the Reader 

Because I have indicated that there is a kind of predictable order 
in which people address certain developmental tasks, I hasten to em- 
phasize again that we do not leave one behind in a linear fashion 
and go on to another. The deeper levels of understanding and per- 
formance associated with any of the archetypes are dependent upon 
also deepening our investment in the others. We continually are 
sharpening and refining skills in each category, for this journey is 
truly a matter of high-level skill development. Ultimately, we gain 
a repertoire of possible responses to life, so we have incrementally 
more choices about how we will respond in any given situation. 

Actually, encountering these archetypes is a bit like redecorating 
a house. We begin by moving into a house furnished in part by 
attitudes, beliefs, and habits passed on to us by our families and by 
our culture. Some people never make the house their own and so do 
not develop a distinct identity or style. Those who do take their 
journeys and (to continue the metaphor) furnish their own houses do 
so at different paces and in different orders. 

Some people do one room at a time, finish that, and go on to the 
next. Others may do a bit in each room, paint the whole house, then 
put up all the drapes, etc. Some people hurry and finish quickly and 
others are more leisurely in their work. Of course, this psychological 
house is a bit different from most homes because there are some 
rooms that cannot quite be finished until you have worked a bit on 
the adjacent one(s). While people do explore their learning tasks in 
many different orders, the archetypes are related and interdependent. 
Ultimately, we do not finish any of them completely until we finish 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 17 

them all. Like a house, moreover, the task is never quite done. Inev- 
itably, whenever you think you have completed decorating it, you 
notice that the couch you bought first is worn or the wallpaper is 
torn, and there you go again! 

Most people, then, work on all the learning tasks all their lives. 
But, like interior decorating, it is easier to work on, say, the Martyr 
room when you already have put some sustained effort into it over 
time and have made it yours. You begin to get the hang of it. So, 
too, when you learn the lessons offered by each archetype, you can 
"do" that archetype elegantly. Whether you are in Martyr, Wanderer, 
Warrior, etc., your reactions will be graceful and appropriate to the 
situation. If you have learned discretion, the responses you choose 
will fit who you are in the moment and the situation at hand. You 
will know you are on target because you feel centered and clear. 
When you feel awful and off-center, it is appropriate to take some 
time to focus on what response would have been more authentic or 
might have acknowledged more fully the other's realities as well as 
your own. 

You might find that the theories in this book can help you get 
moving when you are feeling stuck. For instance, it sometimes is 
useful to remember that when you feel powerless and Orphan-like, 
it is time to look for help. When you feel alienated and cut off from 
people, you probably are dealing with wandering issues. Instead of 
worrying about how to be more intimate, attend to your identity 
issues. When you work them out so that you can be more fully 
authentic, relationships often fall into place. Similarly, if you feel 
martyred and can see that you are giving and giving, hoping to make 
a situation turn out right, then let go of your image of what "right" 
means and pay attention to taking your journey. 

If you feel compulsive about remaking the world or getting another 
person to agree with you, the issue is always fear that if your en- 
vironment does not change, you cannot be or have what you want. 
Your survival feels threatened, but the issue is not getting others to 
change, it is your own courage. This is the time to take a leap of 
faith, act authentically now, and contribute your own truth to the 
world without insisting that others agree with you. When you do 
that, change almost always happens (although you cannot control the 
outcome of that change). 



18 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Trusting yourself and your own process means believing that your 
task is to be fully yourself and that if you are, you will have every- 
thing you genuinely need for your soul's growth. If you find you are 
too attached to a particular outcome, that you are trying to force it 
to happen the way you want it to, and that you are suffering with 
lack of success in doing so, this is the time to cultivate the Magi- 
cian's faith in the universe, in mystery, in the capacity of the un- 
known to provide you with what you need. Recognize that what you 
want and what you need often are not the same and that it is quite 
rational to trust the universe, God, or your higher self and let go. 

Using these theories requires an awareness that we are multidi- 
mensional creatures. Most people work with different archetypes in 
different arenas of their life. For example, some are highly influenced 
by the Magician's consciousness when they think about spiritual is- 
sues but not when they think about their health. Exploring possibil- 
ities inherent in each archetype in different parts of your life may 
be a way of broadening your skills, or it may be stultifying. You 
may find that you are just stuck in roles that are defined by the 
context, and your responses do not, or no longer, reflect your true 
feelings. 

You may fear that people will be thrown off if, say, you experi- 
ment with some of your Warrior skills at home or your Martyr ways 
of proceeding at work. Or you might fear a loss of power as you 
put aside highly developed skills to try out ones you may be awkward 
and unsure with at first. Yet you might find it interesting, challenging, 
and even fun to vary your repertoire and experiment with new ap- 
proaches to old situations. Being assertive in your private life is 
different in style and in substance from what it is in public life, for 
instance. You learn new aspects of each archetype according to the 
context you are in. 

Also note that the more primitive versions of any of the stages are 
jarring to people, simply because they are blunt, not yet refined. 
Remember that in their more refined and subtle forms none of the 
approaches are difficult for most other people to deal with. If people 
do have difficulty, it may be that they are just disoriented by change 
of any kind. Or, as you change and grow, a few people may always 
drift away, but your compensation is that gradually you will attract 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 19 

to you people who have mastered more of the skills you have and 
hence there can be more appreciation and reciprocity between you. 

The chart that follows summarizes the various ways of approaching 
life characteristic of the most typical worldview associated with each 
archetype. Notice how in any month or week you may have all 
the responses listed. It is useful in thinking about these archetypes 
to recognize that we all really know about all of them. When I am 
feeling like an Orphan, I want the world to be handed to me on a 
silver platter, and I am annoyed that it is not. When I feel like a 
Wanderer, I really distrust association and need to do things alone. 

After reading the book, use the following chart and take the test 
in the Appendix to refresh your memory. You will see which ap- 
proach you take most often and therefore get some indication about 
what your primary lessons are at this point in your life. Being con- 
scious of where you are can help you move on, if you wish to. For 
instance, if you feel rather practiced in a certain approach to life, 
try moving on to another level and try out some new responses to 
see how they feel. Note that the chart gives the more typical char- 
acteristics of each archetype rather than its most highly developed 
aspect. However, the most advanced stages of all the modalities, 
taken together, give a prescription for good mental health. 

We are all so practiced in thinking linearly (and this chart is so 
linear) that I hasten to remind you that it is not necessarily better to 
be a Magician than an Orphan. Both the Magician and the Warrior 
run the risk of pride when, as a result of their real increase in power 
and self-confidence, they forget how dependent we all ultimately are 
on each other and the earth for our very survival. Not too long ago, 
I was feeling particularly proud of my (Warrior) achievements and 
competence; but I found myself waking up one morning, asking, 
"Why me?" when a series of challenges, inconveniences, and catas- 
trophes hit me all at once. I experienced all the classic Orphan re- 
sponses: victimization, the wish to be rescued, self-blame, and the 
urge to scapegoat others. Ultimately, however, the gift was the re- 
minder of my real vulnerability and interdependence, as I was forced 
to ask my friends, family, and colleagues for help. Having a tendency 
toward too much self-reliance, I needed the reminder through their 
loving help that I was not alone. 



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22 / THE HERO WITHIN 

The point is to be more complete, whole, and to have a wider 
repertoire of choices not to be higher up a developmental ladder. 
(Imagine tearing out the chart and pasting the top and bottom together 
to make a circle.) Indeed, the Innocent is simply a Magician who 
has not yet encountered the other archetypes and learned their les- 
sons. If you decide that being a Magician is better than being a 
Warrior or a Martyr and you try to limit your ways of responding to 
the world to those of this one archetype, you will be as one-sided 
and incomplete as the Orphan who has not yet gained skill in any 
other modality. 

We do not outgrow any lessons. A nice example of this is in 
politics. Each archetype has its own contribution to make. Orphans 
want to follow a great leader who will rescue them. Wanderers iden- 
tify as outsiders and see little or no hope, especially in conventional 
politics. (That is why people seem so apolitical these days.) Many 
of the kinds of people who used to be engaged in politics are now 
responding to major cultural change by removing themselves and 
addressing identity and values issues that help make a new politics 
possible. Warriors get involved in conventional politics and causes 
and try to make change happen. Magicians are more likely to em- 
phasize the creation of new alternative communities, institutions, and 
ways of relating to one another without trying to get people to change 
who are not ready to do so. 

The point is that none of these responses by themselves are ade- 
quate and none are bad. There are times for recognizing that someone 
else knows more or is a better leader and following them. There are 
times for removing yourself from the action to be sure of your values. 
There are times for political engagement, and there are times to focus 
on what you can create right where you are. 

However, we do not always feel so tolerant and appreciative. 
Sometimes when we first move into a stage, we are a bit dogmatic 
about it and see it as the only way to be. When we leave that position, 
we usually flip-flop and reject where we have been. 

For people just moving out of the early-stage Martyr mode, any 
positive statement about the value of sacrifice is likely to seem ma- 
sochistic. And, of course, the point is that they are right for them. 
If we are just moving from Martyr into being a Wanderer, the temp- 
tation to stop the journey and give to others is an ever-present and 



THE HERO'S JOURNEY / 23 

real threat. It is like leaving a love affair. Few of us can just say to 
our partner that we are ready to move on and leave with a simple 
thank you for what has been. Instead, we spend a great deal of time 
chronicling the faults of our former lover and how bad the relation- 
ship was. Often we create high drama this way to divert ourselves 
from our fear of the unknown, or because we do not believe we have 
a right to leave anything unless it is positively awful. 

We also may reject stages we are not ready to move into yet, the 
ones we have had little or no experience with. Instead, we may re- 
define them in terms we know, and thus completely misunderstand 
the point. That is all right, too, because at that point the truth that 
we do not understand is not yet relevant to us developmentally. For 
instance, to a person just confronting the fall from Eden, just learning 
some rudimentary sense of realism, the Magician's claim that the 
universe is safe will sound like the worst possible example of denial! 9 

I recently shared these ideas with a class, and it became clear to 
me that many students wanted to skip to Magician without paying 
their dues to the other archetypes. I do not believe that can be done 
or if it can be done, it cannot be sustained over time. We do have 
to pay our dues by spending some time in each stage. What I hope, 
in such cases, is that knowing where we likely are going will free 
us up somewhat from the fear that often paralyzes us as we confront 
our dragons. 

There is a paradigm shift that occurs when people move from being 
Warriors to being Magicians: their perception of reality actually 
changes. They come to realize that seeing the world as a place full 
of danger, pain, and isolation is not how the world is, but only their 
perception of it during the formative parts of their journey. This new 
knowledge can be very freeing. 

While most people are concentrating on the news reported in the 
media news that focuses primarily on disasters, wars, and con- 
tests something transformative is happening in the culture that you 
do not see until you begin to change. Learning about this change is 
like learning a new word that you never knew before; suddenly, to 
your surprise, you hear it everywhere you go. Probably it was always 
there somewhere in your environment, but you did not notice it. 
When you learn a new way of being and relating in the world, all 
of a sudden you start meeting people like yourself, and pretty soon 



24 / THE HERO WITHIN 

you are living in a new society, a new world, that operates on prin- 
ciples different from the old. The fact that you are reading this book 
suggests that it is time for you at least to know that world exists 
if you are not living in it already. 

People who must have power over others in order to feel safe 
themselves sometimes are threatened by others' moves into the Ma- 
gician's domain, because Magicians cannot be controlled and ma- 
nipulated very easily. "Power over" is dependent upon fear and a 
belief in scarcity that there is not enough, so we all must compete 
for it. This fear keeps people docile, dependent, conformist, hoping 
to stay in the good graces of those in power, and/or jostling for power 
themselves. In the most affluent country in the world, people are 
motivated to work by their fear of poverty. Surrounded by others, 
people are motivated to buy this and that product in order to be loved. 
As Philip Slater explains in The Pursuit of Loneliness , in our society 
advertising augments the cultural belief in scarcity by creating arti- 
ficial needs. 10 Instead of fearing poverty per se, people may fear that 
they will not be able to buy a fancy car or designer jeans. 

People in power reinforce artificial scarcity because it sells prod- 
ucts and keeps the work force compliant. The rest of us do not reject 
or dismiss the belief that resources and talent are scarce because we 
need to believe they are. We all need to go on our perilous journeys, 
and we must believe our fears are real. Unless we fear hunger, want, 
isolation, and despair, how will we ever learn to confront our fears? 
We are not ready for abundance, for a safe universe, until we have 
proven ourselves to ourselves by taking our journeys. It does not 
matter how many people love us, how much wealth we have at our 
disposal; we will attract problems and we will feel alone and poor 
as long as we need to. Have you ever known someone rich who, 
like Dickens "s Scrooge, lived in terror of losing money, and as a 
result became a veritable slave to making and hoarding it? Similarly, 
no matter how much we are loved, until we are ready to let it in, 
we will feel lonely. 

Ultimately, there is no way to avoid the hero's quest. It comes 
and finds us if we do not move out bravely to meet it. And while 
we may strive to avoid the pain, hardship, and struggle it inevitably 
brings, life takes us eventually to the promised land, where we can 
be genuinely prosperous, loving, and happy. The only way out is 
through. 



Chapter 2 

FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN 

Heaven lies about us in our infancy! 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close 

Upon the growing Boy. . . . 
At length the man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day. 

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality 
from Recollections of Early Childhood" 



T 

JL he Innocent lives in an unf alien world, a green Eden 
where life is sweet and all one's needs are met in an atmosphere of 
care and love. The closest ordinary equivalents to this experience 
occur in early childhood for people with happy childhoods or in 
the first stages of romance or in mystic experiments of Oneness with 
the cosmos. For many people this myth serves as an ideal of the way 
things should be. 

Shel Silverstein's award-winning children's story The Giving Tree 
speaks to us of this yearning to be cared for totally. In it a young 
boy plays in a tree's branches and eats her apples. When he grows 
up, she gives him her branches to build a house. Many years later, 
when he yearns to sail the seven seas, she gives him her trunk to 
make a boat. Finally, when he returns to her in old age, she is sad 
because she has nothing left to give him, but he explains he only 
needs a place to sit down. So he sits upon her stump, and, like every 
other time she has given to him, "He's happy and she's happy." 1 

This story is seen as beautiful and ideal only if one identifies with 
the boy rather than with the tree! To Innocents, other people, the 
natural world, everything exists to serve and satisfy them. God's 
whole reason for being is to answer prayers. Any pain, any suffering, 
is an indication that something is wrong with them (God is pun- 
ishing them) or with God (maybe God is dead). To Innocents, the 
earth is there for their pleasure. They have every right to ravage it, 



26 / THE HERO WITHIN 

despoil it, pollute it, for it is here solely for them. For male Inno- 
cents, a woman's whole role is to care for men, to support them and 
please them. For female Innocents, men's role is to protect them and 
provide for them. For neither one is the other fully human. 

Innocence is a natural state for children, but when carried into 
adulthood it requires an astonishing amount of denial and narcissism; 
and yet it is not uncommon for adults to believe that others should 
be making their life Edenic. That God, their mother and father, 
spouses, lovers, friends, employers, employees do not do so is a 
constant source of annoyance, anger, or even cynicism. 

The promise of a return of the mythic Edenic state is one of the 
most powerful forces in human life. Much of what we do and what 
we fail to do is defined by it. We objectify the earth and each other 
in a frantic attempt to remain, or become, safe and secure, cared 
for, in Eden. The irony here is that we can and do return to safety, 
love, and abundance but only as a result of taking our journeys. 
Understandably, most people seem to want to skip theirs and go 
straight to the reward! 

Eden, after all, is not a matter of getting all one's narcissistic 
whims satisfied; it is a state of walking in grace that requires a deep 
acknowledgment of and reverence for oneself and for others. No 
amount of taking, by itself, will get us there, and no amount of 
giving, either. Innocents, who are confronted with the necessity to 
make their own way in life, feel abandoned, betrayed, even outraged, 
and do not know that it is, indeed, a fortunate fall. At the deepest 
level of their being, they want to go. 

The Fail 

Many cultures have myths that recount a golden age from which 
humankind fell. In our culture, the primary story that gives this 
meaning to us is the myth of Adam and Eve, according to which 
(1) the Fall results from human sin, (2) that sin is more woman's 
fault than man's, and (3) the penalty for sin is suffering. (For Adam 
it is making a living by the sweat of his brow; for Eve it is childbirth; 
and ultimately for both it is death.) Out of this myth comes a belief 
that it is possible for humankind to reenter paradise, but only through 
the expiation of suffering and sacrifice. 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 27 

It is clear that the myth of the Fall has archetypal elements, for 
not only do versions of it exist in most cultures and religions, but 
in our own culture even people who are not practicing Jews or Chris- 
tians experience something like the Fall. For many people it comes 
in the form of disillusionment with their parents. Parents are sup- 
posed to be like the "giving tree." If their parents were not, then 
they feel cheated, as if the world is not what it is supposed to be. 
Or perhaps their parents were terrific when they were little, but then 
they come to discover that their parents are not perfect. Suddenly 
those who are supposed to care for them cannot be trusted. 

The Fall also takes the form of political, religious, or personal 
disappointment and disillusionment. Innocents become Orphans 
when they discover that God is dead or uncaring, the government is 
not always good, the laws are not always fair, or the courts may not 
protect them. Traditional men may experience extreme disillusion- 
ment upon discovering that women are not always "giving trees" but 
have sexual desires and career ambitions of their own. Women may 
be equally disappointed and angered to discover that men not only 
are unlikely to protect women but also have promoted and benefited 
from the oppression of women. Disillusionment conies to us all as 
we learn that the world is not always or perhaps never is how we 
have been taught it should be. For some, it is disappointing to dis- 
cover that real life is not like life portrayed on television. 

The Orphan is a disappointed idealist, and the greater the ideals 
about the world, the worse reality appears. Feeling like the Orphan 
after the Fall is an exceptionally difficult mode. The world is seen 
as dangerous; villains and pitfalls are everywhere. People feel like 
damsels-in-distress, forced to cope with a hostile environment with- 
out appropriate strength or skills. It seems a dog-eat-dog world, 
where people are either victims or victimizers. Even villainous be- 
havior may be justified by the Orphan as simply realistic because 
you must "do unto others before they do unto you." The dominant 
emotion of this worldview is fear, and its basic motivation is survival. , 

The stage is so painful that people often escape from it using 
various opiates: drugs, alcohol, work, consumerism, mindless plea- 
sure. Or they may addictively misuse relationships, work, and/or 
religion as means to dull the pain and provide a spurious sense of 
safety. Ironically, such addictions have the side effect of increasing 



28 / THE HERO WITHIN 

our sense of powerlessness, our negativity, and they even, in the 
cases of drugs and alcohol, foster distrust and paranoia. 

Such escapes are defended by those who resort to them as only 
reasonable strategies for coping with the human condition: "Of course 
I take a few drinks/pills/etc, every day. It's a tough life. How else 
would I get through it?" And they believe it is not realistic to expect 
much of life. One might complain that work is drudgery. "I hate my 
job, but I have to feed my kids. It's just the way things are." In 
relationships, a woman might simply assume that men "are just no 
good," and stay in a relationship in which she is emotionally or even 
physically battered because "he is better than most men." A man 
might complain that his wife nags but then shrug it off with "that's 
just how it is with women." 

The archetype of the Orphan is a tricky place to be. His or her 
accomplishment is to move out of innocence and denial to learn that 
suffering, pain, scarcity, and death are an inevitable part of life. The 
anger and pain this engenders will be proportional to one's initial 
illusions. 

The Orphans' story is about a feltjiowerlfissness^about a yearning 
for a return to a primal kind .of innocence, an innocence that is fully 
childlike, where their every need is cared for by an all-loving mother 
or father figure. This yearning is juxtaposed against a sense of aban- 
jCLoroient, a sense that somehow we are supposed to live in a garden, 
safe and cared "Tor," and ins^tead~ar^3mn^d^ut, orphans, into the 
wilderness, prey to villains and monsters. It's about looking for peo- 
ple t^areTc^^ and independence _to 
.secure that care; it's even about trying to be the all-loving parent 
to their lovers, or children, or clients, or constituencies, anything to 
prove that that protection can be or is there. After the Fall comes 
the long and sometimes slow climb back to learning to trust and 
hope. The Orphan's task eventually is to learn self-reliance, but usu- 
ally that cannot be done until he or she begins to search for the 
"giving tree": "Maybe there is no one, now, who will watch over 
me, but maybe I can find someone." Some women look for a Big 
Daddy; some men look for the "angel in the house," the woman who 
will provide a sanctuary from that cruel world; many look for the 
great political leader, the movement, the cause, or the million-dollar 
deal that will make everything all right. 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 29 

At base is Orphans' fear of powerlessness and abandonment, a 
fear so profound that it usually is not experienced directly. Ibe.more 
apparent emotion^is anger either turned, jnwardLJn _a_belief . jthaj 
somehow the Fall is our own fault, or else turned^outwagrdjpwatd 
God, the universe, parents, institutions anything or anyone that can 
be i^tifiedjgjigt properly taking care of them. In a patriarchy, 
this rage habitually is projected onto women, as, for example, in the 
stories of Eve and Pandora. Perhaps this happens, as Dorothy Din- 
nerstein has argued in The Mermaid and the Minotaur, because we 
are cared for in infancy by our mothers, who then seem to be om- 
nipotent. Not only are we disillusioned that they could not or would 
not make it "all better/ 1 but this disappointment also is coupled with 
that early infantile terror that Mother might leave and then one surely 
would die. 2 There is a great rage in our culture against women to 
the degree that they are separate people with needs of their own and 
not just "giving trees." The rage may explode at the liberated woman 
for her ambition and independence, or at the traditional woman for 
her dependence. Both are blamed for wanting and needing something 
for themselves. 

One of the defenses of Orphans is to try to cling to innocence and 
therefore to be narcissistic and oblivious to other people's pain in 
addition to denying their own. A self-satisfied man sits reading the 
paper while his wife is overwhelmed, making dinner while taking 
care of three demanding, tired, and hungry children. A light-hearted 
young woman spends the day shopping, oblivious to the fact that her 
husband hates his job but stays in it to provide for her. The kind of 
rage often leveled at women seeking independence is evidenced any 
time narcissistic people are forced to confront assertions of indepen- 
dent humanity from people they previously had assumed were there 
only for their convenience. We saw this rage in Southern whites 
during the early days of the civil rights movement; in businessmen 
confronted by demands from labor; in men at the onset of the wom- 
en's liberation movement; and perhaps, even before then, in women, 
when men began to leave their wives to find themselves. We find 
that rage today among conservatives, when the poor assert their right 
to a decent life without even having earned it! 

The essence of innocence is a belief in a benevolent hierarchy, in 
which not only do those with power God, whites, capitalists, pol- 



30 / THE HERO WITHIN 

iticians, parents provide for those in their care, but those they care 
for (humanity, people of color, workers, the populace, children) show 
gratitude by serving and nurturing them. It is this hierarchical order 
that ensures that we all will be cared for. The experience of the Fall 
is feeling, "I want, I hurt, I need," and discovering that no one either 
will or can do anything about it. 

It is, of course, embarrassing for most adults to feel this way. 
After all, we are supposed to be mature, independent, self-sufficient, 
so most people who are in this place cannot acknowledge it, even 
to themselves. They are usually "just fine," but in fact they feel very 
lost and empty, even desperate. The roles they play often are varieties 
of the archetypes that inform the next stages of the journey; however, 
they get the form right, but not the substance. 

If they are attracted by the role of the Martyr, they will be un- 
able no matter how hard they work at it to truly sacrifice out of 
love and care for others, and their sacrifice will not be transformative. 
If they sacrifice for their children, the children then must pay, and 
pay, and pay by being appropriately grateful, by living the life the 
parents wish they had lived; in short, by sacrificing their own lives 
in return. It is this pseudo-sacrifice, which really is a form of ma- 
nipulation (think of Mrs. Portnoy in Portnoys Complaint, for ex- 
ample), that has given sacrifice a bad name in the culture. 

Virtually everyone these days seems to understand how manipu- 
lative the sacrificing mother can be, but another, equally pernicious 
version is the man who works at a job he hates, says he does it for 
bis wife and children, and then makes them pay by deferring to him, 
protecting him from criticism or anger, and making him feel safe 
and secure in his castle. Such a man nearly always requires his wife 
to sacrifice her own journey to his drama of martyrdom. In these 
two cases and in others, the underlying message is, ^Tvejsacrificed 
for-,you^sp_dpn'XJeaye me, stay wijfojng^ help 

me feel safj^nd,secure." ~~"~ "~~~ 

Jnstead of the pseudo-Martyr role, the Orphan may choose .to play 
the rolejofjhe Warrior. Insteadjrf Jgjdi .confronting his fear to try 
to make a better world for himself and for others, he behaves as if 
m^^antfunfrThese are theTooters, the rapists, the batterers, the 
businessmen exploiting and polluting for profit. It is the classic 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 31 

macho "I take whatever I want, and baby, I want you" role, played 



whq^are self-absorbed, oblivious to the jpain^and destruc- 
118 ?: Q f course it is not only men who act this way, but 
I have used the male pronoun because the behavior is so socially 
unacceptable in women that it is more rare. One of the problems of 
being male in our culture is that because this kind of behavior is 
justified as masculine, many men get stuck there. 

One female version of the pseudo- Warrior role is conquest by se- 
duction. In one scene in Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who 
have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, a woman picks 
up a man, treats him to absolutely unbridled and sensuous lovemak- 
ing, then wakes him up early in the morning to kick him out. It is 
a revenge plot. She anticipates his rejection and rejects him first. 
Like the hardnosed busiessman, "she does unto him before he can 
do unto her." The game is u hurt first." 3 

However much Orphans might want to sacrifice unselfishly for 
their children, the movement, the church, etc., or however much they 
want to fight battles that actually might make a difference in the 
world, they cannot do so. Their pain will mandate that they be almost 
totally self-absorbed. Their entire drama will center around them- 
selves. Not truly believing they can either have love and gentleness 
or make a real difference, they will settle for controlling the terms 
of their own unhappiness. 

In many cases, however, Orphans are simply and honestly Or- 
phans, distrusting their capabilities and sending out the message, "I 
do not know how to care for myself." During our youths, in new, 
unexplored situations, and in undeveloped parts of ourselves, we are 
all Orphans and hence dependent upon others. In normal, healthy 
human development, the Orphan phase is mild. Disillusionment with 
parents, institutions, and authority simply motivates us to leave the 
safety of dependence to take our own journeys in search of new 
answers. This may be as undramatic in late adolescence as enrolling 
in college, or leaving home to take a job to support oneself. Later 
it may be leaving a job, a relationship, or becoming disillusioned 
with a political party, a religious group, or a philosophy of life and 
seeking new answers. At any age if we have been dependent upon 
doctors as health authorities or teachers or other authority figures to 



32 / THE HERO WITHIN 

provide us with "the Truth," disillusionment spurs us on either to 
search for more adequate authorities or to learn enough that we can 
become our own authorities. 4 

When people are brought up in homes where they are safe and 
loved and where they are taught that they can trust themselves and 
the world, they do not need to linger in pseudo-heroic stages but can 
develop organically through them. Having had the experience of 
being safe and cared for, they know it is safe to trust. (The Orphan 
is a powerful archetype; no one is completely free of it no matter 
how fortunate.) For many, however, either their childhood homes 
were not safe, or some trauma occurred (such as being molested or 
otherwise mistreated), or they were taught by their families, schools, 
churches, or synagogues that they could not trust themselves or they 
could not trust the world. 

Many Christian groups, for instance, encourage children to see 
themselves as sinful and to distrust their impulses as coming from 
the devil. Similarly, they see "the world" as a sinful and dangerous 
place, set in contrast to "the church," Jews, traumatized by the Holo- 
caust, may teach their children always to beware of anti-Semitism 
and to believe that they are always at risk in an oppressive, gentile 
society. Indeed, any oppressed group, in trying to warn children 
about very real societal oppression, may, if not very careful about 
how they express it, inadvertently teach their children an attitude of 
distrust that fosters paranoia and arrests them in an Orphan mentality. 

In trying to protect children from the real threat of abduction and 
abuse, many parents overstress the danger of talking with strangers. 
Dominant groups may pass on to their children the belief that they 
may be able to trust members of that group, but not members of 
other, "inferior groups": women are hysterical and undependable; 
blacks are shiftless and lazy; Jews are greedy; Asians are sinister, 
etc. Some people even believe, and teach their children, that it is 
not safe to trust anyone. 

People who feel powerless and do not know where to turn need 
to learn to ask for help and, of course, they need to learn discretion 
about where they safely can turn for answers. They will become 
arrested at the more primitive manifestations of the Orphan archetype 
if they are unable to acknowledge to themselves and to others when 
they feel powerless, or lack skills, and need help, or when they are 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 33 

so distrustful that they believe others would take advantage of their 
plight to oppress them further. At this primitive level, Orphans al- 
most always either distrust themselves and fundamentally believe 
they do not deserve to have the safety they long for, or believe the 
world outside them is hostile to them or both. 



Rescue 

The Orphan's problem is despair, so the key to movement is hope. 
There is no use telling Orphans to grow up and take responsibility 
for their lives if they do not feel capable of it! They must be pro- 
vided, first, with some hope that they will be cared for. Vine stories, 
then, that the culture has evolved for the Orphan arerags-to-riches 
plots and very conventional love stories. The subtheme of these plots 
is that suffering will be redemptive and will bring back the absent 
parent. In Charles Dickens's novels, for instance, an orphan suffers 
poverty and mistreatment until finally it is discovered that he is the 
long lost heir to a huge fortune. Reunited with his father, he will be 
cared for forever. In the classic version of the romantic love story 
(for instance, Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded), 
the heroine suffers greatly sometimes from poverty, but almost al- 
ways from assaults on her virtue. If she manages to suffer without 
losing her virginity, she is rewarded with marriage to a rich man, a 
Sugar Daddy who very clearly is a father substitute. The happy end- 
ing promises that she will be cared for the rest of her life. 

The romantic love myth and the rags-to-riches plot are often in- 
tertwined. In the traditional romantic love plot, the heroine finds not 
only true love but also someone to support her. In novels like F. 
Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the hero is motivated to make 
a fortune so that he may win the affections of Daisy, the golden girl. 
In both cases, Eden is the attainment of riches and love. 

It is their hope that love or riches (or both) might be possible that 
sometimes gets Orphans to embark upon a quest. The "savior" then 
can be a lover or it can be a business venture, a job, or professional 
training that might allow them to make enough money to buy a sense 
of total security and control over their lives. The promise is that 
never again will they have to experience that terrible sense of pow- 



34 / THE HERO WITHIN 

erlessness of having needs deep-seated survival needs and being 
unable to meet them. 

As students, Orphans want teachers who know all the answers; as 
patients, they want doctors or therapists to be all-wise and all-know- 
ing and "make it all better"; as lovers they want perfect, cosmic 
mates rather than fellow mortals. The^nly theology that seems rel- 
evant to Orphans is one that promises that if only they are good, 
Qod will take care of theip. The only politics Orphans want is the 
great leader, the great movement, the party that will fix it all so that 
they will be safe and cared for forever. As consumers, Orphans buy 
products that promise the quick fix: Use this detergent and you will 
be a good mother. Drive this car and gorgeous women will climb 
all over you. Try this diet candy, and men will find you irresistible. 

Whether the rescuer is a therapist, a case worker, a religion, or a 
political movement, any criticism of it seems deeply threatening be- 
cause all hope the hedge against despair is invested there. 
Women who seek salvation through romantic love may be actively 
hostile to feminism. People seeking salvation in a religion or a po- 
litical movement may try to avoid hearing anything that might shake 
their faith, to silence those who feel differently from them. Of 
course, those seeking salvation through money are enraged at any 
criticism of capitalism, while those who seek perfect safety and se- 
curity through socialism are equally incensed and even more insistent 
on silencing those who find fault with Marxism. 

It also is helpful to remember that no matter how sophisticated 
their thinking may be in other parts of their lives, in the part that 
promises rescue, people will be at a fairly rudimentary level of cog- 
nitive development, marked by absolutism and dualistic thinking. 
They believe there arc authorities who know what the truth is. The 
trick is to find them and follow their advice, for they will save them 
from powerlessness, ignorance, and error. 

To the true believer, whatever is not their liberating truth is false- 
hood and perhaps even evil. At this stage, then, in Christianity, any- 
tiling other than this truth will be seen as the woric of the devil. In 
business aod politics it may be attacked as communist. For women 
and men who believe that women should find salvation through their 
attachment to a man, women who do not seek to do so are seen as 
manhaters or whores. 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 35 

Further, any indication that the therapist, the teacher, the rabbi or 
minister, or the lover is not perfect is profoundly threatening. Perhaps 
that is why therapists and educators often find it best not to let their 
clients or students know very much about them. Perhaps that is why 
men like to be seen as the strong silent type, and women opt to be 
mysterious. Yet when someone is feeling entirely out of control, the 
simple decision to put faith and trust in another's hands can be lib- 
erating. Furthermore, the discipline to be faithful to that decision 
daily reinforces a sense of being able to choose correctly what is life 
affirming at this stage. 

Whether rescuers are lovers, husbands, therapists, case workers, 
feminists, preachers, etc., the difficulty arises from the Orphans' 
belief that they owe their lives to their saviors. In theological terms, 
this is evidenced in an image of a "jealous God," who shows concern 
by punishing wrongdoing, especially idolatry. In the theology of ro- 
mantic love, it evidences itself in the notion that if your boyfriend 
or husband really loves you, he will be jealous; moreover, he will 
punish any failure of complete fidelity in thought and action 
whether that punishment is in the form of physical or emotional 
battering, or mere aloofness. Not trusting their own goodness, Or- 
phans also see it as a sign of care when rescuers call their wrong- 
doings to their attention. 

Realize here that at this stage Orphans feel extremely undeserving 
and dependent. It seems not only logical but comforting that, in 
exchange for love and care, they give their life and service to their 
saviors a small price to pay. The sad thing is that this trust can be, 
and often is, misused because the rescuers' need to feel safe, needed, 
valuable requires that the victims continue to be dependent, passive, 
clinging, and grateful. If this need is strong, the supposed rescuers 
depend, in a very deep-seated way, upon the continued allegiance of 
the persons being saved. 

We see this frequently in spiritual gurus and evangelists, in po- 
litical "great leaders," in battering or possessive husbands, in nagging 
wives. And it is an occupational hazard in the helping professions. 
In each case, the rescuer plays on the dependent's fears: without this 
religion, this form of therapy, this political movement, our lives will 
be lost in sin, we will be hopelessly sick, or we will be overrun by 
communists (or capitalist imperialists). Men convince wives and 



36 / THE HERO WITHIN 

girlfriends that no one else ever will love them and that they never 
will be able to support themselves, repair the car or washer, or take 
care of 'themselves out in the world. Women convince husbands and 
boyfriends that no one else ever will love them and that they never 
will be able to fix their own dinner, arrange their own social life, or 
meet their own emotional needs. 

This problem is natural because many rescuers are not that far 
ahead of the people they help; for one possible next step after placing 
one's trust in a person, a movement, or a spiritual force is to trust 
oneself to help others (in the guise of either a Martyr or a Warrior). 
The hard part is to help people find themselves without entrapping 
them. It is this phenomenon that explains the relative failures of both 
Marxism and the liberal welfare state. Neither has evolved strategies 
to move people into responsibility for their own lives the strategies 
that would get people off welfare or make possible the eventual with- 
ering away of the state. The people in charge have a vested interest 
in maintaining control because they too are afraid to face the un- 
known, the truly new. 

The rescuer needs to find or be given ways to help the Orphan 
move through this manipulative stage into a more healthy and pro- 
ductive mode of caring that includes the development of a positive 
sense of an autonomous self. To move on, however, one first must 
fully be in the Orphan stage, and that means confronting one's own 
pain, despair, and cynicism; and it means mourning the loss of Eden, 
letting oneself know that there is no safety, that God (at least that 
childish notion of a "Daddy God") is dead. Of course, Orphans can- 
not do this all at once. Denial is a much underrated survival mech- 
anism. They can face their pain only in proportion to their hope. 
The first time they find someone who promises rescue, they can let 
go and feel some of their pain, but they must hold on to much of 
it because of their inevitable sense that there will be a cost for the 
rescue. Inevitably, too, they will be disillusioned with their rescuers 
because, of course, they are not perfect, do not have all the answers, 
and cannot make Orphans safe. 

The first time Orphans meet someone who is willing to love and 
help them, they think he or she is the only one, and they would die 
rather than leave that person even if the relationship becomes very 
destructive. If they never leave, they get stuck. Most people, how- 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 37 

ever, circle back to this stage in a series of relationships that they 
come to look at more and more realistically, in terms of what the 
relationship can bring them. As they gain more experience, slowly 
but surely their trust is based not upon the rescuer, but rather on the 
universe; they begin to trust that there always will be someone for 
them. 

Because most of what they believe about the world is actually 
projection, however, they cannot truly believe that there are other 
people who would give to them without manipulation until they are 
able to do so themselves. They feel less and less like Orphans as 
they are able to stop clutching for safety and give without any thought 
of return. As we will see in the chapter on the Martyr, Orphans learn 
that there can be some safety and love in the world after they learn 
to give and to care for others. 

Orphans' denial mechanisms protect them from full awareness of 
how powerless and needy they really are. Often they will feel it only 
in retrospect as they begin to experience more success. As they learn 
to love, they begin to be able to discriminate between genuine love 
and the daily failures of love: the times we just cannot give; the 
times we give manipulatively; the times we cannot see one another 
for our projections. They then can mourn these lapses without giving 
up on a belief in the power of human caring. So, too, when Orphans 
learn to fight for themselves and begin to feel the power to change 
their worlds to some extent, they are able to differentiate between 
situations in which power can be exercised and those genuine in- 
stances like mortality in which acceptance of powerlessness is a 
more appropriate and realistic response than struggle. They then can 
not only allow their sense of powerlessness in these instances but go 
back and permit themselves in retrospect to feel the full impact of 
earlier despair, yearning, pain, and rage. 

The Orphan and the Innocent actually are preheroic archetypes. 
Life inevitably will liberate Innocents from their illusions, but Or- 
phans, more than any other type, need help crossing the threshold 
and embarking upon their heroic journey. Those who do not linger 
in this stage are those who have had help all along. People who have 
not, or who do not recognize or accept help when it is there, tend 
to get stuck in their helplessness. To get unstuck, Orphans must 
confront the assumption that the Fall somehow is their fault and, in 



38 / THE HERO WITHIN 

so doing, go through and then beyond their notions about blame, 
fault, and sin. Our culture has used guilt and shame as the primary 
means to motivate people to be good by its standards, so it is no 
surprise that people feel guilty, and that they need to atone or 
sometimes to have someone else atone for them. In Christianity, it 
is Christ. Men often have tried to make it women. 

However, something else is at work here. During the experience 
of the Fall, Orphans make meaning of their experience and try to 
feel in control by believing that the Fall happened because they 
sinned. The logic is simple: If it is our fault, then maybe we can do 
something about it. Otherwise, our suffering just seems capricious, 
and then where are we? Without hope! 

The psychological strategy that at first offers Orphans some respite 
ultimately entraps. People do not want to be at fault and will do 
almost anything not to admit they are. Thus a kind of massive denial 
sets in on the conscious level, while on the unconscious level they 
keep choosing suffering as a way to atone. 

A major impediment to embarking on their heroic journeys is this 
denial, which results from a deep-seated belief in their own un wor- 
thiness and that suffering is somehow their fault. At some level, for 
example, white women and racial minorities tend to see sexism and 
racism as resulting from their own inferiority. White men feel per- 
sonally inadequate for not living up to their superior image. All peo- 
ple brought up in the dominant Western religions tend to feel 
inadequate because they do not live up to the image of a good (i.e., 
selfless) person. 

Although heroism is about learning responsibility for one's own 
life, it is counterproductive to tell Orphans that they can take charge 
of their lives because it sounds to them as if you are saying that their 
suffering is their fault. 

Recently I taught an advanced class that did not meet well the 
needs of one of the students in it. About halfway through the class 
the student became hostile, so we had a long talk. Because the course 
was designed to foster responsibility in students, the format changed 
significantly during the semester to address their stated concerns. My 
hope in talking to this student was to have her realize that at any 
time the course could have been different had she simply asked for 
what she wanted. 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 39 

During our conversation, I learned an immense amount. .<or one 
thing, I learned that some people ask for what they want by com- 
plaining. They know no other way. I had not understood her form 
of communication. I also learned about "fault." She explained her 
anger by saying that at first she thought it was her "fault" that she 
was not learning, but then she realized that it was my "fault" that 
I was not teaching the class well. We talked for some time, and I 
felt more and more frustrated. Finally, I realized that for her the 
situation had to be someone's fault, and better mine than hers. It 
could not be just a bad fit between a teaching method and one 
student. 

I had wanted to teach her responsibility for her life a responsi- 
bility that could lead her to drop such a class or to ask for what she 
needed. What I did not yet understand and the reason I had not 
been able to help her is that when responsibility is equated with 
fault and blame, saying "you are responsible for your learning" can 
be heard only as an accusation that she was to blame for not un- 
derstanding. She was not yet capable of taking such responsibility. 
She quite simply needed more help from me. 

What can make movement happen for people immobilized by in- 
security or self-recrimination? Love, hope, and the message that their 
suffering indeed is not their fault, and that someone else who is not 
so powerless and lost and needy will help them. After exploring this 
process for a while, I have come to believe that a variety of contents 
for this message is useful for different people, or for the same people 
in different situations. It is the process here that is important. For 
example, people in the Orphan mode will be attracted to the forms 
of Christianity that emphasize sin and redemption. What is empow- 
ering for them is the notion that their suffering is caused by the devil 
and can be alleviated by Christ; that no matter how unworthy they 
are, Christ loves them, and although they themselves are powerless, 
Christ's sacrifice can save them and bring them back to a state of 
grace. 

For women, the message that feminism can bring at this stage is 
that women are powerless victims of patriarchy (or of men). Indi- 
vidually they are powerless but together, working as a movement, 
sacrificing together, they can make a difference and change the 
world. For men, the message is the same. It is not their fault that 



40 / THE HERO WITHIN 

they have repressed their feelings. They too are victims of the pa- 
triarchal system. For people with addictions to chemicals, the Al- 
coholics Anonymous program, in which people recognize their 
powerlessness, teaches that fundamentally it is not their fault but the 
result of an illness, and although as individuals they are not strong 
enough to do anything about it, they can be saved by putting their 
faith in a higher power and in that group. 

In therapy or analysis, the effective message is to encourage clients 
to tell their story in a way that helps them see that their pain comes 
from somewhere outside the self, that it is a result of early childhood 
trauma, of social conditions, of their parents, etc. in short, that it 
is not their fault. Further, it establishes that the therapist will help 
them deal with and move beyond their pain. 

Self-blame is not only crippling because it makes it impossible for 
Orphans to trust themselves; it also is counterproductive because it 
fosters free-floating projection. In order to feel less bad about them- 
selves, Orphans often will project blame onto others: the people close 
to them (lovers, friends, mates, parents, employers, or teachers), 
God, or the culture as a whole. The result is to increase their sense 
of living in an unsafe world. Further, to the extent that they blame 
those around them for all the suffering in their lives, they alienate 
others and make their lives more isolated and hopeless. By not only 
locating the blame outside themselves but also fixing it firmly in one 
location, they free themselves from the general process of blaming 
the world. Further, as they identify ways to deal with that root cause, 
to establish that we do not have to be at the mercy of evil, of our 
illness, of patriarchy, capitalism, etc., they can begin to believe it 
is possible to take responsibility for their own lives. 

Temporarily relying on someone outside themselves a higher 
power, the therapist, the analyst, the group, the movement, the 
church begins to move people at this stage beyond the dualism of 
dependence/independence, for unless they have the misfortune to 
hook up with someone who wants to use their dependency, they will 
be encouraged to take charge of their lives gradually and with sup- 
port. They do not have to do it all themselves, nor do they have to 
wait passively for rescue or just take orders. They learn the skills of 
taking charge of their lives and also of getting appropriate help 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 41 

from experts, from friends, from God. They can open up to receiving 
love and grace. 

Orphans may believe that they have put their lives in the thera- 
pist's, priest's, or guru's hands, and that belief provides the security 
to start moving and putting their lives in order, but it is critical that 
they make decisions themselves and carry them out. Later they can 
look back and see that they did it themselves. Remember Glinda the 
Good Witch in The Wizard of <9z, who tells Dorothy at the end of 
her journey that she could have gone home anytime she wanted to? 
Dorothy asks why she did not tell her that before, and Glinda ex- 
plains that Dorothy would not have believed her. First she had to 
convince her that there was a Great and Powerful Wizard who could 
fix things for her. In journeying to find him, Dorothy developed and 
experienced her competence, so that ultimately she was able to un- 
derstand that it was she who killed the Wicked Witch, and it was 
her own power that would get her home. Until she had experienced 
these things, however, she would have felt too powerless to proceed 
except under the illusion that she was about to be rescued. 

By linking the examples of Christianity, Alcoholics Anonymous, 
feminism, and analysis or therapy, in no way do I mean to suggest 
a lack of respect for the integrity and worth of each, nor do I suggest 
that they are merely interchangeable. What I do mean to suggest is 
that each uses a process that works in aiding someone in the transition 
from despair to hope, to claiming some sense of self- worth and 
agency. The essential tools for helping Orphans are (1) love an 
individual or a group who shows care and concern; (2) an opportunity 
for the Orphans to tell and retell their story in a way that overcomes 
denial (retelling how painful it was before they were saved, stopped 
drinking, became a feminist, etc.); (3) an analysis that moves the 
locus of the blame outside the individual, that says the fault lies 
elsewhere; and (4) once it is established that they are not guilty, 
encouragement to begin to talk about taking responsibility for their 
own lives. 

In many religions, in Alcoholics Anonymous, in therapy or anal- 
ysis, and in feminist consciousness-raising groups, people may allow 
themselves to begin to feel their pain. Although their lives may have 
been exceedingly difficult, they often are so scared of their pain that 



42 / THE HERO WITHIN 

they block it. In the safety of the group, they may feel their pain 
more consciously in the telling of their story than they did in the 
living of it. They also may borrow courage from the therapist, the 
analyst, the minister, or the group to allow themselves to feel the 
full horror of their lives. Or, if their life has been simply ordinary, 
they may need permission to understand that they have a right to 
their own pain, even though it has not been as great as that of others 
they know. 

Years ago, for example, my own pain was rough and glaring, but 
I denied it because it was not as great as that of other people I knew. 
It was quite a breakthrough for me to acknowledge that I had pain 
even though I came from a relatively happy, middle-class family. As 
I came to recognize and legitimize my own pain, I could overcome 
my denial and act to change my life. I could not make my life better 
until I acknowledged where things were not working for rne. 

Some people in the Orphan stage, however, have learned to use 
their pain mMpulatirely : to get other sTtcTTeef sorry for them, or 
Jo feel guilty, and hence to do what they want. Those who are mem- 
berLof a group that is oppressed in "some way can play "on other 
people's liberal guilt and thus gain control. Using their pain as a 
veKicTe^Ormanipulation, they cairavotd fully confronting their jus- 
tifiable rage and feelings of powerlessness. Ultimately, it keeps them 
stuck. 

It is critical for both more privileged and relatively more oppressed 
groups to listen to each other's pain without playing the who-is-more- 
oppressed game. We see the same thing done in families or between 
couples who argue about who has suffered more. Presumably, the 
person who has suffered less is supposed to give in to the greater 
sufferer's demands. If this is allowed, suffering is encouraged be- 
cause it brings with it power. The point, of course, is not to get 
people further hooked on suffering but to free them to learn about 
joy, effectiveness, productivity, abundance, and liberation. They 
need to listen to their own and to others' stories and to acknowledge 
where their pain is so they can open up the door to growth and 
change not to bludgeon each other with it. 

It is a major step for Orphans to move out of denial and self- 
involvement and learn to help others. In many religions, Alcoholics 
Anonymous, feminist consciousness-raising groups, group therapy, 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 43 

and analysis, individuals are actively encouraged to do so. Some- 
times the context for this is evangelism go out and seek new con- 
verts but what matters in terms of development is that such pressure 
helps people begin to learn the lessons represented by the archetypes 
of the Martyr and the Warrior. They assert their own truth in order 
to improve the world, and they give to others. 

These same strategies can be used in the classroom. Orphans, of 
course, see teachers as experts or authorities who know "the Truth" 
with a capital T. If they do not, they are phony, fake, incompetent. 
Or, worse, they are abandoning the students unfairly to their own 
resources. Teachers, then, can tell Orphans what to do, and if Or- 
phans see them as the authority, they will do what they say. Teachers 
may explain that they really do not know everything, but they may 
not be heard the way they want to be by some students. 

In one of my introductory Women's Studies classes, I assign a 
project in which people tell their stories and then share them with 
their small group. They meet with a small group every week all 
semester to share their own experiences and to make connections 
between the course content and their lives. The course reading does 
two things: It provides models for hope and it overcomes denial about 
the oppression of women. Such an approach can be tailored for many 
subjects in the arts, humanities, and social sciences so that the class- 
room can actively support growth. 

By providing a structure that requires students to go through the 
steps of overcoming denial, sharing their story, and developing trust 
in a group of peers, the teacher can use the authority invested by 
the institution and projected by students seeking "the Truth" to help 
students claim their own authority. Initially, some students go 
through the process because they are told to or for the grade, and 
only later see what they have gained from the experience. More 
cognitively complex and autonomous students go through a process 
of choosing whether or not to invest in this activity. The act of 
choosing either to do it or not encourages their development at yet 
another level. 

Self-Help and Cultural Transformation 

Some people who do not have the benefit of any of these support 
systems unconsciously set up situations on their own in which their 



44 / THE HERO WITHIN 

denial systems are assaulted. Usually they place themselves in cir- 
cumstances that are so life-threatening that they no longer can see 
that they are in trouble and need help. This may take the form of 
serious chemical addiction, illness, loss of jobs, increasingly destruc- 
tive personal relationships, but in every case the individual bottoms 
out and is forced past denial to recognize the pain that motivates the 
irrational addiction to self-defeating behavior. 

For people who experience less extreme forms of pain and denial, 
less painful forms of self-help work well. Some people tell their 
stories in journals. More visually oriented people may paint; some 
write music. Some may feel a compelling need to work, sculpt, paint, 
or compose because they are finding their true vocation. And/or, they 
may feel an equal compulsion because it is their means of working 
through denial by telling their story in a way that they themselves 
can hear. For people who express their wisdom with their hands, the 
story may never be told in a way more verbal people can understand, 
but it may be encoded in the pattern of a quilt, in weaving, in the 
shape of a piece of pottery. What matters most is that the individuals 
involved can see or hear their own truth, and as a result can act to 
change their lives. 

It also is important to recognize that, although far too many people 
right now are stuck in the Orphan modality, there is massive activity 
in the culture helping people confront their problems and get on with 
their journeys. Support groups exist based on either the feminist con- 
sciousness-raising or the A A models for all sorts of problems, from 
overeating to child abuse, to getting clear about one's sexuality, to 
understanding the impact on one's socialization of one's sexual, ra- 
cial, or ethnic identities. There has been a rebirth of interest in East- 
ern as well as Western religion, and a proliferation of forms of 
therapy and analysis as well as the many groups in the Human Po- 
tential and New Age movements. Even contemporary political move- 
ments the civil rights movement, feminism, the ecology and anti- 
nuclear movements emphasize the personal growth and liberation 
of their proponents. All this energy is focused at this time in history 
on helping people take responsibility for their own lives so that we 
might not only save the planet but make the world a more genuinely 
humane and free place to be. 

Cumulatively, this means we are moving from a cultural milieu 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 45 

in which there are a few heroes into one in which we all are expected 
to take our journeys and embark upon the heroic, responsible life. 
Much of modern philosophy and literature is designed to help us 
overcome our cultural denial and our clinging to childlike innocence. 
The legacy of sin, the belief that suffering is somehow "our fault," 
has been so debilitating, and so interferes with our cultural need to 
take responsibility for our lives and our future, that much of our art 
and philosophy have focused on dispelling this idea. Nineteenth- and 
early twentieth-century naturalism and modern existentialism brought 
these themes home to us powerfully. Central to these traditions is 
the declaration that God is dead; nature is inert, or at the least un- 
caring, and there is no inherent meaning to life. Suffering does not 
happen to us for a reason or because God is displeased with us. It 
happens simply by chance inhuman, uncaring chance. Nothing that 
happens means anything beyond itself. These philosophically nihil- 
istic beliefs and the art and literature they inspire operate as a kind 
of collective therapy that help us overcome our denial. They tell the 
human story in a way that focuses on our pain on meaninglessness, 
loss, alienation, the difficulty of human connection; on a sense that 
the economic world has become a machine and we mere cogs in it, 
that life has lost grace and meaning, and that basically there is no 
one who will take care of us. They counter the denial that keeps us 
in innocence and tell us we are not to blame for our pain, and finally, 
in the best cases, force us to confront the urgency of action. Modern 
literature and philosophy push us to stop looking for rescuers and to 
grow up and take responsibility for our lives and our future. It may 
be that we as humans have created the current threat to the planet 
in the form of nuclear holocaust or environmental accident to force 
ourselves into maturity. We no longer can deny the need to take 
responsibility for our lives individually or collectively. 

Doing so requires increased cognitive complexity and the capacity 
to differentiate between what suffering is harmful and should be al- 
leviated and what is an inevitable part of growth and change. The 
intensity of the pain the Orphan experiences after the Fall is partially 
the result of simple-minded either/or thinking. It is only the belief 
that there should be a Daddy God caring for us and protecting us 
that makes the contemporary confrontation with the notion that "God 
is dead" so painful. Who said life was going to be Edenic anyway? 



46 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Where did we get the notion someone was supposed to take care of 
us? When we begin accepting adult responsibility for our lives, we 
can accept some degree of suffering and sacrifice as essential to life 
without defining suffering as what life is. It is not so much that God 
is dead, but God the Father is dead. If humankind is to grow up, 
we must envision and act upon a less childlike and more peer re- 
lationship with divinity. 

Instead of seeing life dualistically (i.e., either getting everything 
you want or living in a fallen world), we can see suffering as only 
part of a process the process of letting go: of Eden, of childhood, 
of parents, of lovers, of children, of our lives as we know them, 
and ultimately, in death, of life itself. Our lives will be transformed 
as we let go and trust our new directions, however fearful we may 
be about the unknown and however much grieving we may need to 
do about what we leave behind. 

Beyond the dualism that sees "life as suffering" or "life as Eden" 
is an awareness of pain and suffering as part of the flow of life. 
Indeed, pain and loss are personally transformative not as a constant 
mode of life, but as part of an ongoing process whereby we give up 
what no longer serves us or those we love and move into the un- 
known. Our pain, our suffering, would be too great were we to do 
all our growing at once. We give things up little by little. That's the 
psychological reason for denial it keeps us from having to confront 
all our problems at once! 

Our denial structures work to protect us from the knowledge of 
the extent of our suffering, precisely because we are not equipped 
to deal with all of it at once. Each time we become aware that we 
are suffering, it is a signal that we are ready to move on and make 
changes in our lives. Our task, then, is to explore the suffering, to 
be aware of it, to claim fully that we indeed are hurting. But we can 
do that only if we have at least a glimmer of hope that our suffering 
is not necessary, that it can be alleviated, that it is not simply the 
human condition or not simply our lot as a man or a woman. In 
this way, suffering is a gift. It captures our attention and signals that 
it is time for us to move, to learn new behaviors, to try new 
challenges. 

Suffering also may be a gift in other ways. Particularly later on 
in the quest, our problem may not be so much a sense of power- 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 47 

lessness as an inflated sense of power, a belief that we have it all 
together, that we are better, more competent, more worthy than other 
people. Suffering is the leveler that reminds us of our common mor- 
tality, that none of us is exempt from the difficulties of human life. 
When suffering and despair come together, they provide us with the 
opportunity to affirm hope, love ourselves, and to say, against all 
odds, u And yet I will love, and yet I will hope." It is then that we 
learn transcendence; it is then that we know the beauty of oneness, 
of being part of the network of mortal connectedness, of being fun- 
damentally for all our accomplishments like other people. 

Most important of all, it is suffering that helps us face our worst 
fears and thus frees us from the paralysis of the Orphan hopelessly 
seeking ways to stay safe. There is often in people to whom "the 
worst" has happened an almost transcendent freedom, for they have 
faced "the worst" and survived it. They know they can face anything. 
Life does not have to be just so, it does not have to be Eden, for 
them to love it. As Christ taught us, even death by crucifixion is 
followed by resurrection. Similarly, Elisabeth Kiibler-Ross in Death: 
The Final Stage of Growth tells about the peace and freedom ex- 
perienced by people who have been declared clinically dead and 
come back to life how their experiences of love and light freed 
them from the fear of death that so interferes with most people's 
lives. 5 

How we deal with death, of course, is tied in with how we respond 
to all the little deaths in our lives the loss of friends, family, lovers, 
of particularly special times and places, of jobs or opportunities, 
hopes and dreams, or belief systems. What is interesting to me is 
that it does not seem necessary for many people to suffer in large 
ways if they learn the small, daily ways of giving to others and of 
letting go of the present to meet the unknown. Some people need to 
face "the worst" to learn this lesson. Other people do not. The dai-' 
lyness of giving and letting go gives them the skills they need to 
cope when a loved one dies or they find themselves critically ill. 

Some people block out these little deaths. They leave without say- 
ing good-bye. They graduate from high school or college and neither 
celebrate nor mourn the life that will be no more. They pretend that 
birthdays are just like any other day. It is as if there wiU not be a 
loss if they do not acknowledge it. Such people always must pick a 



48 / THE HERO WITHIN 

fight to get out of a relationship or pretend it never meant anything 
to them. People who block all their endings become so constipated 
emotionally that there is no room to let anything else in. They start 
feeling uncomfortable and numb. 

Other people who have gained more wisdom know they sometimes 
must leave someone, someplace, or a job because it is time to grow, 
to move on. They know that growing older holds new opportunities, 
but it also means the end of youth. Such people can celebrate the 
future and their new area of growth while fully acknowledging what 
it has meant to them to be with that person, in that job or school, 
or in that place. They can take time also to be thankful for what has 
been and to mourn their loss. This thanksgiving and mourning emp- 
ties them out and makes way for the new. Having felt those feelings, 
they now are ready to feel the excitement of new growth. 

This is the meaning of the concept of the "fortunate fall," which 
propels us out of dependency into our journeys. On the road, we 
learn through experience that pain need not be meaningless affliction, 
but that it can fuel continued growth and change. From the initial 
scared and needy ways in which we experience the Orphan archetype, 
we may experience any of the other archetypes in their initial stages. 
If we allow the Wanderer archetype to emerge in our consciousness, 
it may take the form (as we have seen) of the quest for rescue, during 
which we begin to gain confidence in ourselves and our abilities. As 
such, our sense of guilt and inadequacy will be balanced by pride 
in the demonstration of a capacity to survive on our own, without 
someone to care for us. 

If we encounter our inner Martyr first, we undoubtedly will sac- 
rifice more than is necessary in the service of others. However, in 
doing so, we become the "giving tree" parent figure we had hoped 
for, and, in acting out the archetype, develop faith that, since we are 
good and nurturing to others, it is more believable that we will be 
cared for. If we move initially into the consciousness of the Warrior, 
we will learn to defend ourselves against threats from without and 
to control our terrors so that they do not immobilize us. Indeed, we 
become the powerful rescue figure we had hoped might save us. In 
doing so, we begin the process of rescuing ourselves. 

Finally, if we allow for the emergence of the Magician's con- 
sciousness as we begin to expand our options, we will experience 



FROM INNOCENT TO ORPHAN / 49 

increased trust in the universe through giving over our fears into the 
hands of a benevolent deity, saying "Thy will be done," or through 
the belief propounded in New Age books like A Course in Miracles 6 
that suffering and pain are illusory and not reality. 

We may cycle through these archetypes and the stages they rep- 
resent many times until the alchemical miracle has been achieved: 
Somehow both our own baseness and the world's has become trans- 
muted into gold. At that point, we return to Eden and to Innocence, 
understanding that it is safe to trust ourselves, each other, and the 
universe. As we learn we can be counted on, we come to understand 
that it is realistic to trust others. 

It seems important here to stop and reconsider the archetype of 
the Innocent. Like Don Quixote and other "wise fools," the Innocent 
can be in touch with a world beyond that of consensus reality. New 
Age literature puts modern dress upon ancient mystic traditions (in 
Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity) that view the world of ordinary 
consciousness as illusory, beyond which, it is believed, lies a perfect 
world where each of us is always safe, secure, and happy. In such 
traditions the task is to avoid seduction by the illusions and to live 
entirely in this "real," other, good world. 

Yet one need not try to escape the everyday. Embracing the illusion 
eventually does return us to a condition of innocence. However, for 
many, the existence of another, spiritual realm persists through the 
journey and lightens their load. To others, they may appear mis- 
guided or hopelessly naive, if not actually crazy. Yet, whether or not 
we are aware of this alternative reality as we go along, at the close 
of the hero's journey we experience it again. 

As we journey, the archetype of the Innocent reminds us at critical 
junctures to hope and trust, while the Orphan archetype continues to 
teach us that no matter how developed we get, we still are dependent. 
We depend on the earth for our very survival, for the air we breathe 
and the food we eat. We depend on each other. None of us has all 
the gifts necessary to create the full and rich lives that our combined 
talents make possible. 

Returning to Eden, we are not powerless, childlike dependents, 
but people who also take responsibility for caring for others and the 
planet. This return requires interdependency, which necessitates not 
only the claiming of personal responsibility for the maintenance of 



50 / THE HERO WITHIN 

our earthly paradise and a trust that some pain and suffering are 
rightly a part of even Edenic life, but also ultimately a childlike 
attitude of trust and gratitude for all that is given us. This requires 
a dawning awareness that, however painful our lives might have 
seemed, we always have been held in the palm of God's hand. As 
T. S. Eliot wrote in the "Four Quartets," 

We shall not cease from exploration 

And the end of all our exploring 

Will be to arrive where we started 

And know the place for the first time . . . 

A condition of complete simplicity 

(Costing no less than everything) 

And all shall be well and 

All manner of things shall be well 

When the tongues of flame are in-folded 

Into the crowned knot of fire 

And the fire and the rose are one. 7 



Chapter 3 

THE WANDERER 

I fear me this is Loneliness 
The Maker of the soul 
Its Caverns and its Corridors 
Illuminate or seal 

EMILY DICKINSON, 318 



-L he archetype of the Wanderer is exemplified by stories 
of the knight, the cowboy, and the explorer who set off alone to see 
the world. During their travels they find a treasure that symbolically 
represents the gift of their true selves. Consciously taking one's jour- 
ney, setting out to confront the unknown, marks the beginning of 
life lived at a new level. For one thing, the Wanderer makes the 
radical assertion that life is not primarily suffering; it is an adventure. 

Whether Wanderers journey only inward or also outward, they 
make a leap of faith to discard the old social roles, which they have 
worn to please and to ensure safety, and try instead to discover who 
they are and what they want. We often are aware of the Wanderers 
who externalize their journeys and either literally travel or experiment 
widely with new behaviors; but there are also heroes whose external 
behavior seems conventional enough, yet whose explorations of their 
inner world and whose independence of mind in exploring their re- 
lationships in the universe are profound. Such a one was Emily Dick- 
inson. In the latter years of her life, she hardly ever ventured even 
downstairs, yet no one who reads her poetry can miss the uniqueness, 
importance, or intense vitality of her quest. 

Wanderers may be self-made men or women of business, or hippies 
living on the edge of society, but they definitely will define them- 
selves in direct opposition to a conformist norm. In philosophy, pol- 
itics, health, and education they are likely to distrust orthodox 
solutions, choosing instead to be very conservative, very radical, or 
just idiosyncratic. In fitness, they are likely to choose solitary ex- 



52 / THE HERO WITHIN 

ercise, like long-distance running or swimming. As learners, they 
distrust the answers given by authorities and search out their own 
truths. The Wanderers' identity comes from being the outsiders. In 
their spiritual life, they may experience doubt, especially since they 
usually have been taught that God rewards a measure of conformity 
and traditional morality qualities likely to be at variance with the 
needs of their developing, experimenting psyches. Yet the dark night 
of the soul they .experience often leads to a more mature and adequate 
faith. 



Captivity 

If the Orphan's story starts in paradise, the Wanderer's begins in 
captivity. In fairy tales, the prospective Wanderer may be entrapped 
in a tower or cave and is usually the captive of a witch, an ogre 
tyrant, a dragon, or some other fearsome beast. Often the captor is 
a symbol for the status quo, for conformity and false identity imposed 
by prevailing cultural roles. Or the hero especially if she is fe- 
male may be imaged as enchanted by a mirror, which suggests a 
preoccupation with her appearance and with pleasing, rather than 
with what she sees and what pleases her. Often the hero is told that 
the cage is Eden and that leaving inevitably will require a fall from 
grace: that is, the cage is as good as it gets. The first job of the 
Wanderer is true sight: to declare or acknowledge that the cage is a 
cage and the captor is a villain. This is especially hard to do because 
the hero may not only be frightened of the quest but disapprove of 
it, and these feelings and judgments are likely to be reinforced by 
those of others. 

To the Martyr, the urge to the quest may seem selfish and therefore 
wrong because it involves turning one's back on care and duty in 
the pursuit of self-discovery and self-actualization. For the Warrior, 
it may seem escapist and weak. If Wanderers choose to go on their 
journey, they may even feel guilty, for the act of claiming one's 
identity and developing an ego classically is portrayed as an insult 
to the gods. Think for example of Eve eating the apple or Prometheus 
stealing fire. To the Orphan the quest sounds unspeakably dangerous! 
A Because we often are afraid of major changes in others as well as 
ourselves, we may discourage budding heroes from embarking on 



THE WANDERER / 53 

their quests. We want them to stay the way they are. For one thing, 
we may be afraid of losing our lovers, spouses, friends, even parents, 
if they seem to be changing too much. We may be particularly threat- 
ened if someone who has lived to please or serve us all of a sudden 
declines to do so! 

The pressure to conform, to do one's duty, to do what others want 
is strong for both men and women, but it is strongest for women 
because women's role has been defined in terms of nurturance and 
duty. Often women forbear taking their journey because they fear it 
will hurt their husbands, fathers, mothers, children, or friends; yet 
women daily hurt others when they do not do so. For example, one 
of the worst things a woman can do for a man's soul is to allow him 
to oppress her. If a woman loves a man, she should reverence his 
soul enough to know that whatever the scared little boy in him wants, 
his deepest core of being the part of him that is healthy wants 
only good for himself and others. If that is not true, then she needs 
to leave him. If it is true, then she is condescending to him when 
she indulges his less-developed self; indeed, she is acting with real 
contempt to assume that he is more meanspirited than she is. 

Similarly, many men are trapped in their protector role and do not 
dare take their journeys because of a sense of responsibility not only 
to their children but to wives who appear to be fragile and incapable 
of taking care of themselves. If a man loves his partner, then he 
should reinforce that part of her that can be independent, competent, 
risk-taking. Every time he holds back his own journey because of 
her apparent ineptitude and dependence, he reinforces in her that 
attitude about herself and hence helps cripple her. Her stronger, wiser 
self wants to grow and wants him to grow too. 

The nice thing about Wanderers taking their journey is that it has 
a ripple effect, allowing loved ones to take theirs as well. Perhaps 
at first they will be threatened and angry; but sooner or later, they 
will either have to leave or come along. If they leave, Wanderers 
may experience aloneness for a while, but sooner or later, if they so 
desire, they will develop better relationships, ones that are more gen- 
uinely satisfying because they are based on respect for that journey. 
Of course, when Wanderers step outside consensus reality and begin 
to see the world and themselves with their own eyes, they always 
face the fear that the punishment for doing so will be perpetual iso- 



54 / THE HERO WITHIN 

lation or, in a more extreme sense, a friendless death in poverty. In 
spite of that fear which speaks to the heart of one's infantile terror 
that one cannot survive if not pleasing others (parents first, teachers, 
bosses, sometimes even mates) Wanderers make the decision to 
leave the world of the known for the unknown. 

However much people have learned about giving and letting go, 
their sacrifices will be for nothing unless they also learn who they 
are. It is not helpful to tell people to transcend ego until they have 
developed an ego. It is not useful to tell people to transcend desire 
until they have allowed themselves fully to go for what they want. 
For this reason, I am uncomfortable with the Buddhist notion of 
transcending desire because it may have the effect of keeping some 
people focused on the lessons of letting go just when their growing 
edge is to find out what they want! 

I maintain that not everyone knows what he or she desires. Cer- 
tainly, narcissistic Orphans seem to live entirely by desire: I want 
this! I want that! But their desires are not really true, educated desires 
at all. Mainly they are forms of addiction, masking a primal emp- 
tiness and hunger for the real. Narcissists do not yet have a genuine 
sense of identity and consequently feel an emptiness. Their wants 
are programmed by the culture they say "I want a cigarette," "I 
want a new convertible." They think getting these things will help 
them feel good. Even strategies for personal growth may not emerge 
out of a true self, but out of a compulsion to satisfy addictive crav- 
ings: "I want to lose ten pounds so I can attract more men and have 
a better sex life." "I want to go to college so I can make lots of 
money and have a great stereo system, be the envy of my friends." 

When they have not developed much sense of a separate, auton- 
omous self, people basically are run by what they think to be other 
people's opinions. I just returned from my husband's twenty-fifth 
high school reunion, where one woman told me that a number of 
people who had been invited said they did not want to come because 
they looked too fat or too old and/or they were not successful enough! 
Clearly, these people had not developed, even in their forties, a sense 
of themselves apart from such external considerations. 

One of the major addictions in our culture is to traditional sex 
roles. This works because the culture has made sex and love artifi- 
cially scarce commodities, so people spend endless hours trying to 



THE WANDERER / 55 

manipulate the world so they will get enough. We are taught that we 
need to conform to certain images of feminine and masculine be- 
havior to be loved and to be thought sexually appealing. Yet, as long 
as we play roles rather than take our journeys, we never feel loved 
for ourselves, and we never experience the power of truly intimate 
sexual connection. Thus we may have lots of lovers but still feel 
empty, needy, and wanting something more. 

If that were not enough, our economic system, and before it our 
educational system, work out of this shortage of love. We are taught 
to work hard so we can have things that will make us loved, re- 
spected, or admired. This includes buying nice clothes and cars, 
finding attractive places to live, having the money to buy good health 
and dental care, and perhaps even to join a health club all this to 
attract a mate. It certainly is a powerful way to motivate a work 
force. The strategy however, ultimately does not work in the best 
interest of people. 

For one thing, people who are driven by their addictions in this 
way do not have the time or the inclination to develop a sense of 
self. Instead they settle for stylish pseudo-independence, buying 
monograrnrned towels, briefcases, or individualized Cabbage Patch 
dolls, using products that are pitched to appeal to their urge to be 
different and fashionably iconoclastic. Pseudo- Wanderers, even in 
their urge to wander, get channeled into conforming to whatever is 
considered to be the "in" way to be. Without a self, it really is not 
possible to either give much love or take it in. In the latter case, 
when people play a role to get love or respect and hide who they 
really are (which may well be a mass of neediness) they never 
really feel loved for themselves. It is the role that feels loved. 

Further, even their loving ultimately may be harmful to other peo- 
ple, for it is likely to be compulsive, proprietary, controlling, and 
dependent. Because their sense of identity comes from having (as in 
possessing) that child, that boyfriend, that girlfriend, they need them 
to be a certain way. They need them to stay around even if their own 
journey calls them away. The role players may need others to act in 
certain ways to make themselves look good. They also may abridge 
their own growth so as not to threaten a relationship, or out of fear 
that if they do not sacrifice their good to the other's, some harm will 
come to that loved one. 



56 / THE HERO WITHIN 

The Orphan and the Martyr at their first levels of understanding, 
and sometimes even at the second, believe that in order to have love 
they must compromise who they are. At some level, they believe 
that if they were to be fully themselves, they would end up alone, 
friendless, and poor. 

Many women do not like the Wanderer stage. As Carol Gilligan 
has pointed out in In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and 
Women's Development, while men fear intimacy, women fear alone- 
ness. 1 I see here two different responses to the same belief system. 
In our culture, we tend to believe we can have intimacy or we can 
have autonomy and selfhood. So women tend to choose intimacy and 
men choose independence. The irony is that in choosing this way, 
neither really get what they want. For one thing, people really want 
both. For another, it is not possible to truly get one without the other. 

If we choose intimacy instead of independence, we cannot be fully 
ourselves in a relationship, because we have too much invested in 
keeping it; we play it "safe," play a role, and wonder why we feel 
so alone. If, on the other hand, we choose independence, our need 
for intimacy does not go away. Indeed, because it is repressed and 
therefore unacknowledged and unexamined, it manifests itself in 
compulsive and uncontrolled urges and activities. Most men or 
women who believe in u l-don't-need-anyone" stoicism are dreadfully 
lonely. Many while maintaining the illusion of self-sufficiency 
are absolutely terrified of abandonment. 

Men like this infantilize women, so women (they believe) will not 
have the confidence to leave them. They want to keep their wives, 
if not barefoot and pregnant, at least without the skills and confidence 
needed to have a career that could support them well. Similarly, at 
work, they define their secretary's role as part mother, part wife, so 
they always will be taken care of. Finally, they are so dependent 
upon the regard of their male colleagues, bosses, and oftentimes even 
their subordinates, that they will violate their own sense of ethics 
rather than face the possibility of not being one of "the boys." 

Such men are particularly vulnerable to charges of being soft, so 
they would never, for instance, say that they do not want to dispose 
of chemical waste in the cheapest way for they would not want to 
be accused of some idealistic caring for the environment. They can 
be controlled even to acting immorally by the fear that they will 



THE WANDERER / 57 

seem to care about the earth, about women, about other people. 
Women who have adopted this macho ethic act the same way, with 
the complicating factor that they also seek to gain male approval by 
acting like one of "the boys." 

Accurate generalizations about sex differences are enormously im- 
portant in helping us understand one another, but often they make 
men and women seem more distinct and different than we are. Al- 
though the fear of aloneness is primary for many women, next to 
that is a corresponding fear of intimacy. So, too, men who are most 
conscious and obvious about their fear of intimacy also fear alone- 
ness. As long as the problem is defined (as it is by our culture) as 
an either/or situation where one can be autonomous and independent 
or one can have love and can belong, we all will fear both. 

We do not move out of this dualistic formulation of the dilemma 
until we resolve it on its own terms. Wanderers confront the fear that 
they will be unable to survive alone and decide that whatever the 
cost in loneliness, isolation, even social ostracism, they will be them- 
selves. It is critical to do both at some time in one's life. Women 
Jte&d to be so afraid of aloneness that they stay overlong in Martyr; 
and of course this fear is accentuated by the cultural notion that to 
be alone and female is to be a failure (clearly you could not get a 
man). To wish to be alone is either unthinkable or not nurturing, and 
hence unfeminine. 

Men, on the other hand, are so enamored of independence that 
they get stuck there, since independence in our culture is practically 
a synonym for masculinity. Furthermore, their independence has a 
ring of martyrdom to it. It is as if they have sacrificed their need 
for love to their desire to be separate and whole. This explains Daniel 
Levinson finding in his famous study of male development, The Sea- 
sons of a Man's Life, that many high-achieving males could not 
describe their wives! 2 

Male stoicism denies the need for connection and wipes out not 
only the full awareness of one's need for connection, but also inev-^ 
itably the awareness of other people as people. It is this blocking 
out of other people that explains why so many men treat other people 
as objects. 

I do not suggest, however, that doing so is only a male phenom- 
enon. Women do it, too. Whenever we deny our need for other 



58 / THE HERO WITHIN 

people, we block them out, at least partially. Thus, when we deny 
our need for other people we stay (at least in the area in which we 
are doing the blocking) narcissistic. The result of blocking our yearn- 
ing for connection, then, is loneliness. 



Alienation and Escape 

We have many ways of being alone. One is actually to live alone, 
travel alone, spend our time alone. Relatively few people adopt this 
course for any extended period of time. There are other ways some 
of which have the advantage of masking our aloneness, sometimes 
even to ourselves. One way is to discount what we feel, what we 
want, and give others what we think they want: to be what we think 
they want us to be. Another way is to treat people as objects for the 
gratification of our own desires. It is critical here to allow ourselves 
no real awareness of their separate human identity. Actually, any time 
a person acts in one up/one down roles with another person, that 
will be a solitary interaction. 

Still another way to be alone, as we have seen with traditional sex 
roles, is always to act a part the perfect woman or man, mother 
or father, boss or employee to be our roles. Or we can continue 
living with our family if we don't get along with them; we can stay 
in a bad marriage; we can live with roommates with whom we have 
little in common. A woman can decide that all men are chauvinists, 
and a man can decide that all women are scheming bitches. If we 
are really serious about being alone, we can decide that everyone is 
out to get us or to get something from us. 

Lest I sound unduly negative here, let me hasten to add that in 
fact, all these strategies demonstrate how imaginative we are in mak- 
ing sure that we take our journeys: The very emptiness and vulner- 
ability that results from such addictive approaches to life motivates 
many of us to take our journeys and to discover or create a self. 
Certainly, many people manage to be alienated and lonely all their 
lives without ever growing or changing, but others use these times 
to be "secret heroes," thinking new thoughts and imagining new al- 
ternatives while on the surface they go about their normal lives as 
usual. A woman I know looks back on an eleven-year, extremely 
conventional and superficial marriage as a safe haven, a cocoon in 



THE WANDERER / 59 

which she hid while she prepared to soar. But when she was in the 
marriage, she did not know this. In fact, it was the intensification 
of her sense of emptiness in the traditional role and loneliness in that 
relationship that was, by its very unpleasantness, her call to the quest. 
For many people alienation within captivity is the initial stage of 
wandering, followed by a conscious choice to take one's journey. 

The archetypal American hero leaves the small town and embraces 
his journey; the beat hero and later the hippie hit the open road; the 
Western hero rides off into the sunset. The new feminist hero leaves 
her parents, husband, or lover and takes off too. For women, leaving 
the husband, lover, or family is such a recurrent form of the Wanderer 
archetype in contemporary times that Erica Jong writes in How to 
Save Your Own Life, "Leaving one's husband is the only, the cosmic 
theme." 3 Yet the individual who does not leave the small town or 
the spouse who does not leave the limiting marriage is no less alone 
than the Wanderer. Paradoxically, all the delaying strategies we em- 
ploy to avoid our journeys may end up being part of them if we 
are lucky! 

When it is time to take the journey, Wanderers will feel alone 
whether or not they are married, have children and friends, or hold 
a prestigious job. There is no way to avoid this experience. All their 
attempts to do so simply repress their awareness of where they are, 
so that they are slower at learning lessons and thus stay lonely longer. 
And, although some people take off on the quest with a high sense 
of adventure, many experience it as thrust upon them by their feeling 
of alienation or claustrophobia, by the death of a loved one, by aban- 
donment or betrayal. 

Furthermore, it is unlikely that any of our attempts to break 
through to persons at this stage and to be truly intimate with them 
will work. They will continue to set up barriers to intimacy because 
their developmental task is to confront being alone. Very few people, 
moreover, are conscious enough of their own patterns of growth to 
tell you that honestly. Most will say, "Sure I want to be close," but 
then they sabotage intimacy. The only thing that really speeds them 
up is for them to become conscious that they are, in fact, alone. 

Abandonment actually is quite facilitative at this stage. When Wan- 
derers do not let another in, whether it is parent, lover, therapist, 
analyst, or teacher, it is important for that helper to pull away so 



60 / THE HERO WITHIN 

that child, lover, client, or student can experience fully the aloneness 
they have created for their own growth. Otherwise, they will be 
diverted from recognizing their loneliness by fighting off the assaults 
of others on their walls. Some people simply will not grow until they 
are abandoned. Charlotte Bronte's Lucy Snow (in Villette) is such a 
one. She willingly gives her life over to serving almost anyone. Ev- 
ery time Lucy settles in to do so, however, Bronte kills them off. 

Some people take their journeys because they cannot find the 
"right" person to sacrifice for. Because society has taught us that 
"good" women live to serve, many women explain their independent 
state by bemoaning the scarcity of available men. Sometimes this is 
real, and sometimes it is rationalization. A mother of a friend of 
mine once defended her newly divorced daughter by explaining: "She 
wanted a man to take care of her (and to take care of) but no one 
would." Sometimes a woman does find a man but comes to realize 
that while she has been sacrificing for him, not only has he not been 
sacrificing in return, he is contemptuous and unappreciative of her. 
Perhaps he makes comments about how uninteresting she has be- 
come. Or maybe he gets interested in just the kind of "selfish" career 
woman or party girl he has always claimed was not a real woman. 

One of the legacies of the feminist movement is that it has pro- 
pelled many men on their journeys, just as men's embarking on their 
quests, leaving women alone, has pushed women into claiming their 
own autonomy. Many men define their whole lives in terms of their 
role as provider. I remember one man who kept calling me to talk 
about his wife, who was going back to work. For him, that was a 
crisis. He explained that he did not know what the meaning of his 
life was any more. He hated his job, but did it, he said, for her and 
for the children. If she worked, he did not know why he was doing 
it. I naively assumed that he should be thrilled that he was now 
free to explore other options, other careers he might find more sat- 
isfying but I was underestimating the degree to which his sense of 
identity (indeed the meaning of his life) hinged on sacrificing in that 
way for his family. Without that, he did not know who he was. Her 
action thrust him albeit kicking and screaming on his journey. 

We all need a period of solitude to find out who we are. Most of 
us need some solitude every day just to stay clear. Furthermore, all 
the strategies we use to avoid this task searches for Mr. or Ms. 



THE WANDERER / 61 

Right, the perfect job that will give us our identity, etc. do help 
us, in the end, to learn what we need to learn. They give us practice 
in desire and assertion. 

A woman initially may go to college to get an MRS degree and 
end up taking herself seriously. A man may become increasingly 
sophisticated in strategies to score and then learn that women like 
men who are expressive with their feelings. Pretty soon he is so 
enamored with being open and honest, he forgets all about the score- 
card and opens up to loving. 

Even when our desires are programmed by the culture, they ul- 
timately can help us grow, especially if we are attentive to feedback. 
For example, if one of my desires is a cigarette every five minutes, 
I need to begin to be attentive to the warnings on the package and 
that developing cough. We get educated partly by throwing ourselves 
into things and finding out what really pays off in a sense of ful- 
fillment and what does not. Then sometimes we can save ourselves 
some long detours by thinking and feeling a course through before 
we actually throw ourselves into it: "Well, I could go after that guy, 
but if I succeed it likely would break up my marriage. Actually, I 
want my marriage more than I want that fling." Or, "I'm really nuts 
about this guy and want to become involved with him whatever the 
consequences. Besides, this might be the crisis that will get my hus- 
band to go into marriage counseling with me." Or, "I see that I am 
attracted to other men. Perhaps that means that something is wrong 
with my marriage. Maybe I should explore that first." Or, "I really 
am not monogamous. Jim and I will have to confront that someday. 
Why not now?" Or, "I don't approve of adultery. Can I face myself 
if I do this?" 

Of course, life does not always follow our scripts. We get feedback 
from what really happens; this sharpens our reality principle so we 
can think things through more intelligently next time. The point is, 
we live out some options, and we imagine our way through others. 
In either case, we learn what we want and do not want, what we 
believe in, what our values are. Sometimes we learn we did not really 
want what we thought we did, but there is no other way to learn 
what we want than by trusting our knowledge as we go along. Unless 
we allow ourselves to admit that we do not really know who we are 
and what we want, we never will know, nor will we know who we 



62 / THE HERO WITHIN 

are and what we want if we just sit there without trying anything. 
This is why sometimes in our journeys we actually must wander a 
bit to grow. 

This process of listening to our own desires and acting to fulfill 
them is fundamental to building an identity. We come into this world 
with a self, but it is more a potential than a fully developed identity. 
We learn about who we are by what we want, what we do, and what 
we think and feel. The happiest people always are the ones who risk 
enough to be fully themselves. They are the ones who play the pre- 
scribed roles the least, but they also have no particular need to be 
rebels either. They not only have the strongest sense of who they 
are, they also can receive and give more love than other people 
because they have confidence that the love that comes their way is 
real, and not just a response to the roles they play. 

I also hasten to say there probably is no way to build a self without 
playing roles. Our first sense of pride comes from playing roles well, 
and our choices of which roles to play is a rudimentary stab at choos- 
ing an identity. For example, a woman may choose to play dumb 
blonde, the competent, reliable type, the fearless, devil-may-care ad- 
venturer, or the motherly, nurturing type. She also decides whether 
or not to try to be a good student, whether to try to please her parents 
or be a rebel. She chooses whether to be a career woman or a house- 
wife, and she chooses whether to study art, science, or whatever. 
Even not choosing still is choosing by default. As she chooses among 
all these roles and tries them on for size, she begins to get some 
notion of who she is. 

If she plays the roles well, she may begin to gain enough confi- 
dence to ask more fundamental questions about who she is apart from 
such roles. Or she may have such high standards that she feels in- 
adequate in everything she does, in which case she may sink into a 
serious depression. Even then, if a therapist or friend is sensitive to 
the basic nature of the situation, the crisis can be used to help her 
find a sense of herself outside the parts she plays. At some point, if 
we are to continue to grow we begin to differentiate ourselves from 
the roles we play. Often we do this when roles that felt good initially 
now feel empty. In practice this usually means that we have stopped 
making choices and asserting what we want. For example, a woman 
sees that everything she now does was preordained by the roles she 



THE WANDERER / 63 

chose last year, ten years ago, even thirty years ago. More, she may 
come to understand that even those choices were so influenced by 
expectations of the culture or by her family or friends that they were 
not free at all. Maybe she got married, had kids, quit her job just 
because everyone else did. 

Actually, when she made those choices, she was not very ex- 
perienced and not very clear about what she really wanted. Making 
them helped her become someone capable of better ones. However, 
expectations that she choose who she is at twenty-one and act that 
out for the rest of her life militate against her freedom to make new 
life choices. Ultimately, of course, that is easy enough to redress. 
She can decide that the culture, other people, or voices in her own 
head are wrong to give her "life sentences" for prior bad decisions, 
and she can start making new ones. But even then her situation 
remains complicated. Perhaps she decides she does not want to be 
a wife because she married before she ever experimented with life 
and gained a sense of competence in the world. She still is unlikely 
to be able to leave the marriage and save the relationship. And, if 
she is a mother, the odds are great that she will continue that re- 
sponsibility whether or not she now feels ready for parenthood. (I 
have known people to be really innovative here, finding someone to 
care for their children for a year or two, for example; but mainly 
people feel pretty trapped by the choices they have made.) 

Society is more forgiving of men in such circumstances who forgo 
caretaking and parental responsibilities to take their journey than it 
is of women. However, men who continue to support their children 
both financially and emotionally while they also are "finding them- 
selves" experience wandering as do many women as a tenuous bal- 
ance between caretaking and 'taking one's journey. Paradoxically, 
often it is in resolving what sometimes seems an intolerable oppo- 
sition that people find out more fully who they are. They come to 
know themselves moment by moment by the decisions they make, 
trying to reconcile their care for others with their responsibility to 
themselves. Maturity comes with that curious mixture of taking re- 
sponsibility for their prior choices while being as imaginative as pos- 
sible in finding ways to continue their journey. 

Wanderers do not learn their lesson all at once. Like all the ar- 
chetypes they learn an initial lesson and then circle back. The first 



64 / THE HERO WITHIN 

time they take independent action may be as a child, expressing an 
opinion unpopular with friends or teachers. They may be very influ- 
enced by the archetype as they pull away from parents and explore 
what it means to be an adult and not a child. They may experience 
it many more times as adults when they follow their heart or con- 
victions and risk the loss of marriages, jobs, friendships, or popu- 
larity with friends. This is a lifelong process that sometimes requires 
more than mere risking. 

Like those of Martyrs and Warriors, Wanderers' first choices for 
themselves are crude and clumsy. Usually they have gone along with 
someone else, over their own wishes, too long, so that their resent- 
ment is deep by the time they act in their own interest. The result 
is that they choose themselves in the midst of a veritable explosion 
of rage. Or they may put off making a hard decision in their con- 
scious mind so that their unconscious mind takes over and makes 
them break some rule that gets them thrown out, as Eve was thrown 
out of the garden, instead of actively choosing to explore the new 
world. 

When people have grown up in an environment that glorifies mar- 
tyrdom, being good, and making others happy, their desire for au- 
tonomy and independence will be interpreted, even by themselves, 
as wrong. Their first forays into wandering, accordingly, will consist 
of seemingly uncontrollable acting out. They will be noticeably bad! 
Maybe they hang out in bars, take drugs, become promiscuous, even 
steal, and seem always to be hurting and letting down those they 
love. They do so, of course, because the price of that love is being 
good, and being good tends to mean, in such circles, forgoing one's 
quest to please others. Unfortunately, this pattern can be catastrophic, 
because those caught in it become increasingly convinced of their 
worthlessness. They can be helped if they are encouraged to see that, 
even though their loved ones might immediately be threatened and 
disapproving, they do, nevertheless, have a responsibility to take 
their journeys and find out who they are. 

Another similar pattern may emerge when we do not wander when 
we need to illness. We may become sick as an unconscious way 
to stop the cycle we are in. As we become more practiced at staying 
with ourselves, we find that we no longer have bumpy crises in which 
we have to leave situations dramatically to save ourselves or in which 



THE WANDERER / 65 

we have to almost kill ourselves to recognize we need to change. 
Indeed, the Wanderer ultimately teaches us to be ourselves to be 
fully true to ourselves in every moment. This takes enormous dis- 
cipline and means staying in touch with our body, heart, mind, and 
soul at every moment and in every interaction. As long as we do 
this, big explosions need not occur. 



Fleeing the Captor 

At the first level of Wandering, subtlety is not the issue. The big 
question is whether one will act at all. While the pivotal person for 
the Orphan is the rescuer, the transformative person or concept for 
the Wanderer is the villain or captor. In fact, it is the identification 
of the villain as a real threat that motivates the journey. At the very 
least, Wanderers identify a person, an institution, a belief system as 
the cause of their misery, and then they can avoid or flee the cause. 

This is the stage of separation. Feminists who identify men as 
oppressors, people of color who see whites as the enemy, working 
class and poor people who conclude that capitalists never can be 
trusted strive to live as separately from the oppressing groups as 
possible. To the extent that the identities of the oppressed groups 
are, or seem to be, defined by internalized values of the oppressing 
groups, this self-imposed isolation provides time and space for the 
definition of group identity. Women, for instance, ask themselves the 
question, "What does it mean to be female apart from the definition 
of femininity imposed by patriarchal culture?" 

In the Wanderer stage, men or women who feel trapped in their 
marriages initially might be able to justify divorce only if it can be 
established that their spouse is villainous. This was, of course, the 
basis of all divorce laws until modern no-fault divorce was intro- 
duced. The alternative to divorce, as we will see in the next chapter, 
was to fix the spouse, to make him or her better, by religious con- 
version, instilling guilt, or perhaps therapy or counseling. 

In the old hero myths, the young hero is motivated to go on his 
solitary journey because the kingdom has become a wasteland. In 
these stories, it was thought that the cause for this desolation and 
alienation was in the old. king; maybe he was impotent or had com- 
mitted a crime. In more realistic stories, it is because he has become 



66 / THE HERO WITHIN 

a tyrant. The aspiring hero goes off into the unknown and confronts 
a dragon, finds a treasure (the grail, a sacred fish), and comes back, 
bringing with him what is needed to provide new life for the king- 
dom. He is then made king. 4 

Now, the interesting thing about this story is that its cyclical nature 
is built in; not everyone goes on a quest. When someone does and 
gains some wisdom and power, he is made king and everyone does 
what he says. Of course, eventually something will be wrong with 
that new king too. The world keeps changing, and he is not en- 
couraged to keep on with his journey but instead to forgo it so that 
he might rule the kingdom. So he goes a bit dead. All the other 
people follow him rather than find their own wisdom and power. 
They are, then, all in captivity. When the young challenger comes 
along, he sees the deadness, but instead of interpreting the problem 
as one inherent in the system, he declares that the old king is the 
villain. 

The Orphan wants to be taken care of, and the Martyr will deal 
with the situation by giving more and more to shore up the king and/ 
or to help make the kingdom work better. But the part of each of 
us that is a Wanderer sooner or later will experience our "kings" and 
"queens" the people we serve or who we thought would, save us 
as villains and tyrants. Our job, then, is to leave them, actually or 
simply by distancing enough to claim ourselves. What is critical in 
either case is to stop postponing our journey for them. 

A friend of mine was complaining to me recently about a woman 
who comes to her for marital counseling. In spite of the fact that 
her husband is a very sweet fellow who was willing to do just about 
anything to keep her and make her happy, this woman persisted in 
seeing him as a villain. The counselor was most irritated at her be- 
cause the woman had a perfect opportunity for an extremely happy 
marriage. What my friend did not see was that her client could not 
have a happy marriage because she as yet was incapable of taking 
her own journey while staying with him. As long as she was with 
him, she would compromise, try to please him, and in any number 
of ways do things that aborted her own quest. No matter how won- 
derful her husband was, he was a captor to her and she needed to 
leave him at least until she had developed sufficient boundaries so 
that she could be with him and with herself at the same time. 



THE WANDERER / 67 

This is, of course, the same reason teenagers decide their parents 
are uptight, or oppressive, or that they just do not understand. Very 
few people feel justified in leaving anyone a parent, a child, a 
lover, a mentor, a job, a way of life without coming to the con- 
clusion that what they are leaving is bad. It is not conceivable just 
to want to leave because one needs to grow. The awareness that one's 
rescuer always becomes an oppressor if one does not move on when 
it is time to do so comes later, if at all. 

As a rule of thumb, if someone else suddenly becomes hostile to 
you or if ways of behaving that used to please them do not anymore, 
it is useful to recognize that unless you have changed radically, the 
other person probably is changing, and your relationship no longer 
fits. Your old friend or lover probably will need some distance from 
you. If you do not allow the distance, the other person will pick 
fights and make you the villain to enforce it. 

However, if you do allow separateness and decide to let go of the 
other person fully, it is very likely that eventually you will be re- 
warded with a new, deeper, and more honest relationship with that 
person, or at worst with the knowledge that in letting go you did a 
good thing for both of you. If you are terrified of being left and 
want to control those you love and hence try to make them abort 
their journeys, you are truly a dragon in your willingness to devour 
them to feed your own fears and insecurities. In this case it is time 
to pause, go back, face your fears and loneliness, process them, and 
let go. 

For most of us, opposition is critical to the formation of identity. 
It is the pressure in the culture in general and in our families, schools, 
etc., to conform to a particular mode of behavior that forces us to 
confront our differences and thus sharpen our sense of identity. When 
fitting in does not work for us and sooner or later we will find 
ourselves somewhere in which it does not we are in the crisis of 
having to choose either to become chameleons or take the risk of 
dissociating ourselves from other people. 

If we take the latter course, doing so forces us onto our "road of 
trials," which is the initiation into heroism and always is taken alone. 
Most of us experience this initiation many times in our lives every 
time we are pulled between our desire to stay within the known, safe 
world and our seemingly conflicting need to grow and risk, con- 



68 / THE HERO WITHIN 

fronting the unknown. It is this tension that accounts for the pain 
attendant upon growing up and leaving home experienced by teen- 
agers or young adults; the difficulty of the midlife crisis that chal- 
lenges us to leave behind a sense of identity based on a role, 
achievement, or relationship to others in favor of facing deep psy- 
chological and spiritual questions about who we are; and even for 
the most spiritual and trusting, the psychological struggle surrounding 
death. 



The Road of Trials 

Jean Auel's bestselling novel, Clan of the Cave Bear, 5 portrays 
the Wanderer's dilemma. Ayla, one of the first homo sapiens, is 
swimming one day when an earthquake kills her whole tribe. She is 
only five. Wandering alone for days, she finally is picked up by Iza, 
the Medicine Woman of the Clan. The Clan, we learn, are humans, 
but of a different species. They have phenomenal memories but are 
not very good at abstract thinking or problem solving. They also 
have absolutely rigid, patriarchal sex role patterns. Deviation on crit- 
ical points is punishable by death, but the patterns by now are so 
genetically encoded that no one in the Clan even thinks of deviation 
anymore. 

The tension between the desire for growth, for mastery, for push- 
ing the limits of one's capacity to achieve versus one's desire to 
please and fit in is a quintessential Wanderer's dilemma. Ayla's story 
is illustrative of it. She is strikingly different from the people around 
her and they fear her difference. So does she, because it threatens 
her survival, which is dependent when she is a child upon pleas- 
ing the Clan. To find herself, she must leave the people she most 
loves so that she can stop compromising to please them. 

The most important difference Ayla feels is her capacity for an- 
drogyny. She is capable of performing both male and female tasks, 
and she is curious enough to want to learn everything she can. She 
resolves her dilemma by conforming when with the Clan, but when 
she is alone she secretly teaches herself to hunt. 

When Ayla's ability to hunt inevitably is discovered, her punish- 
ment is to be declared dead. Usually, Clan who are pronounced dead 
actually die, so strong is their belief in the declaration. But there is 



THE WANDERER / 69 

a provision in Clan mythology that, if a person comes back from the 
dead after a certain number of "moons," he or she can be accepted 
into the tribe. That means Ay la has to survive on her own for a long 
time and in winter. On her own means dealing with not only phys- 
ical survival but also the emotional crisis of learning to trust her own 
sense of the Clan's reality: They said she would be dead; she thinks 
(but is not sure) she is alive. 

When she comes back, she is accepted. She very much wants to 
be part of the Clan again, for she has been dreadfully lonely, yet 
the experience of making it on her own has made her even more 
confident and therefore less malleable and more independent of Clan 
mores. When Ayla has a child, she runs off so that it will not be 
put to death as a mutant. Ayla figures out that the child is not de- 
formed. It is only half-Clan, half-Other (their term for homo sapiens) 
and so it looks very different from other Clan babies. Even though 
this situation is resolved through a combination of her cleverness and 
the leader's compassion, the clash between the more and more in- 
dependent and adventurous Ayla and the increasingly disoriented 
Clan is growing. No resolution seems possible, however, because she 
so loves them, and they her. Almost no one wants to sever this 
relationship except one person. 

Enter the villain: Broud, the one Clan who has truly hated Ayla 
(because he has been envious of the attention she has received), is 
put in charge. His first action is to declare Ayla dead once again. 
She goes off to find the Others, people like herself, not knowing 
whether she ever will. In Auel's sequel, The Valley of the Horses, 6 
we learn that Ayla ends up spending three years including three 
hard winters away from human society, kept company only by a 
cave lion and a horse. 

Having left the clan, she nevertheless takes with her the belief that 
the price of being alone is giving up critical pieces of who she is. 
She can have love at the price of conformity or be alone for the rest 
of her life. Clan, for instance, do not laugh or cry. Alone in her 
valley, she debates what of herself she is willing to give up in order 
to be less lonely. She decides she would be willing to give up hunting 
but not laughing. It never occurs to her that she could find a com- 
munity in which she could be fully herself. Even when a man of her 
own kind finds her and falls in love with her a man who simply 



70 / THE HERO WITHIN 

assumes that everyone laughs and cries and who prefers and admires 
women who hunt well she cannot believe it and keeps acting as if 
he were a sexist Clan male. 

The point here is that originally the threat was real. She was totally 
dependent for her physical and emotional survival on the Clan. She 
did need to compromise to please them. She gained major lessons 
both by disciplining herself to please them especially in doing it 
for the love of her parent figures, Creb and Iza and by choosing 
herself as much as she could in defiance of custom. One can see 
here the passage of childhood and adolescence the dual lessons of 
obedience and rebellion. Yet Ay la, like most of us, transfers these 
lessons to situations in which they no longer are relevant. 

The belief that we have to compromise critical parts of ourselves 
to fit in makes visible and real to us both our need for love and our 
equally strong need to explore who we are. The tension between 
these incredibly strong and apparently conflicting impulses leads us 
first to give up important pieces of ourselves in order to fit in, and 
in that way to learn how much love and belonging means to us, and 
finally, radically, to choose ourselves and our journeys as even more 
important to us than care of others or perhaps even our own survival. 

Because the culture has overglorified the harsh solitary journey of 
the classic hero, and because the culture so needs people who can 
work collaboratively, there has been a good bit of disenchantment 
with the traditional heroic ideal of the Wanderer. Like that of mar- 
tyrdom, the problem of the Wanderer is not with the archetype itself, 
but rather with a confusion about what the archetype means for peo- 
ple. Just as martyrdom is destructive when suffering is justified for 
its own sake, solitude can be an escape from community and hence 
destructive if it, too, seems like a value in itself. For instance, if 
maturity is equated with independence an independence defined as 
not needing anyone else it can stop an individual's growth. 

However, making an absolute choice for ourselves and our own 
integrity even if it means being alone and unloved is the prerequisite 
for heroism and ultimately for being able to love other people while 
remaining autonomous. It is essential for creating the proper bound- 
aries so that we can see the difference between ourselves and another 
person so that we will not have to objectify them to know ourselves 



THE WANDERER / 71 

and what we want. Only then is it possible to both empathize with 
and honor another, and yet still do what we need to do for ourselves. 

Boundaries also are essential for finding our own vocations. Part 
of being human is to be. a creator, to bring into being things that 
were not here before. That's what it means to say we were created 
in God's image. Ayla, in her solitary valley, made and invented 
tools; she tamed a horse and a cave lion; she experimented with new 
medicinal recipes, new ways to dress and wear her hair. Only the 
discovery that she could survive alone freed her to be as creative 
and competent as she was able to be. By exploring her potential in 
this way, she not only created things and experiences outside herself, 
but she discovered herself as someone to be proud of. 

Work helps us find our identity, first because it is the way people 
survive by toil. When we learn we can support ourselves, we do 
not have to be dependent on other people. Beyond that, when we 
find work in this case paid or avocational that expresses our 
souls, we find ourselves by what we bring into being. The Wanderer's 
quest, then, also is about agency, productivity, creativity. 

No matter how much people want to feel loved, appreciated, and 
a part of things, there will be a loneliness deep in their souls until 
they make a commitment to themselves, a commitment that is so 
total that they will give up community and love, if necessary, to be 
fully who they are. Perhaps this is why some of the most secure 
people I know and the people with the clearest sense of who they 
are have taken great risks. In this list I would put several friends: 
a woman who knew in her soul she must be an artist and left a 
marriage to a wealthy man to tend bar and pursue her art; a man in 
midlife who left a secure job to start his own business developing a 
product he had invented; and a number of men and women who 
risked losing their jobs and/or social ostracism by making public their 
love of someone of the same sex. I also would include a woman 
who left a high status job as a scientist to go into the ministry, not 
even sure that any church in her denomination would accept a woman 
minister. 

Not every Wanderer makes decisions so dramatic, but every one 
of us if we are to grow past a certain point needs to make an 
absolute commitment to ourselves. Like the Martyr, we do so in 



72 / THE HERO WITHIN 

stages. We begin angry that we have to make such hard choices. At 
first we act like Orphans, kicking and screaming that someone else 
is supposed to be caring for us! Or we may complain that no one 
loves us for who we really are, that we would like to do such and 
so, but there are no jobs in that field. In short, we complain that 
life is hard and we take that secure job that is not what we want to 
do or stay in relationships that seem safe, even if they are not very 
satisfying to us. 

Then one day, loneliness and a sense of an existential void, some- 
times felt in the solar plexus, are accepted as just the way things 
are: "We all walk alone, each and every one of us/' Fully accepting 
and feeling anything always sends us into another place. It is only 
struggling against our growth that locks us in. In this case, accepting 
loneliness leads to rebellion: those quiet or public experiments in 
acting on what you really want, loving who you really love, doing 
the work you love, finding out who you are. Then the sense of en- 
joyment that Ay la discovers in her own company, in which solitude 
becomes something quite different from loneliness, creeps in. The 
more we are ourselves, the less alone we feel. For we are never 
really alone when we have ourselves. 

Community 

Paradoxically, the movement into isolation and loneliness ulti- 
mately leads back to community: Ayla finally can have love and 
be who she is, and she can live with people like herself her true 
family. The archetypal Wanderer, then, moves from dependence 
to independence to an autonomy defined in the context of interdepen- 
dence. Many who have learned to embrace their independence and 
even solitariness find later that they miss human connection. They 
have become capable of experiencing intimacy at a new level because 
they have developed a strong enough sense of self that they are not 
afraid of being swallowed up in the other. To their surprise they often 
find, just when they are ready, that people, communities, exist who 
will love them for exactly who they are. 

As they resolve the conflict between love and autonomy by choos- 
ing themselves without denying their yearning for connection, the 
seemingly impossible conflict dissolves. In this new way of seeing 



THE WANDERER / 73 

the world, the reward for being fully and wholly ourselves is love, 
respect, and community. But for most of us, the full enjoyment of 
this reward does not come until we gain the Warrior's ability to assert 
our own wishes in the relationship, the Martyr's capacity to give and 
commit to others, and the Magician's knowledge that there is no 
scarcity, that we can have all the love we need as our birthright. We 
do not have to pay for it by forfeiting our lives. 



Chapter 4 

THE WARRIOR 

Lives of great men all remind us 

We can make our lives sublime, 
And, departing, leave behind us 

Footprints on the sands of time. . . . 

Let us, then, be up and doing, 

With a heart for any fate; 
Still achieving, still pursuing, 

Learn to labour and to wait 

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW 

"A Psalm of Life" 



X he Wanderer identifies the dragon and flees; the Warrior 
stays and fights. And it is the archetype of the Warrior that is our 
culture's definition of heroism. I have asked many classes and audi- 
ences to tell me the central characters in the hero's story. They al- 
ways give the same answer: the hero, the villain (or the dragon to 
be slain), and the victim (or damsel-in-distress to be rescued). We 
all know this plot and these characters. The underlying moral of this 
story is that good can and will triumph over evil, but even more 
fundamental than that, the story tells us that when people have the 
courage to fight for themselves they can affect their worlds. 

Any ending in which good does not triumph, therefore, seems 
fundamentally disempowering because we take it to mean that we 
are powerless and because, in undermining the major belief system 
of the culture, it reinforces cynicism, alienation, and despair. When 
the hero does triumph over the villain, however, it reinforces our 
faith that it is possible not only to identify the dragon but to slay it: 
We can take charge of our lives, eliminate our problems, and make 
a better world. In doing so, we rescue the damsel-in-distress who is 
the Orphan in all of us. The Warrior says to the Orphan within: "You 



THE WARRIOR / 75 

do not always have to look for someone outside yourself to save you; 
I can take care of you." 

This archetype helps teach us to claim our power and to assert our 
identity in the world. This power can be physical, psychological, 
intellectual, and spiritual. On the physical level, the Warrior arche- 
type presides over the assertion that we have a right to be alive. The 
Warrior consciousness includes self-defense, a willingness and an 
ability to fight to defend oneself. On the psychological level, it has 
to do with the creation of healthy boundaries, so we know where we 
end and other people begin, and an ability to assert ourselves. 

Intellectually, the Warrior helps us learn discrimination, to see 
what path, what ideas, what values are more useful and life-en- 
hancing than others. On the spiritual level, it means learning to dif- 
ferentiate among spiritual energies and theologies: to know which 
bring more life and which kill or maim the life force within us. The 
Warrior also helps us to speak out and to fight for what nourishes 
our minds, our hearts, and our souls, and to vanquish those things 
that sap and deplete the human spirit by speaking the truth about 
them and by refusing to countenance them or to allow them into our 
lives. 

The development of warrioring capabilities is essential to a full 
life, and it is a necessary complement to the virtues associated with 
the Martyr. Initially, Martyrs see themselves as sacrificing for others, 
while at the relatively primitive level Warriors assume the necessity 
of slaying others to protect themselves. And the willingness to do 
so is an important assertion of commitment to themselves and their 
own self-worth; it is the fundamental assertion that they have a right 
to be here and a right to be treated with dignity and respect. That 
means that they have a right to be honored by loved ones, to be 
respected by teachers and employers, and to refuse work that is de- 
meaning or to learn ideas that insult them. Unless they value them- 
selves enough to say no to what is hurtful or harmful to them, their 
choices for sacrifice and for giving for love's sake may be more 
cowardly than transformative. 

Women, minority men, and the working class all have been cul- 
turally defined as inferior and, as such, their role is to serve. To the 
degree that these groups have internalized such ideas, much of their 
giving and serving is linked unconsciously to their belief that they 



76 / THE HERO WITHIN 

do not have a right to be here unless they do serve that they do 
not have a right to exist for their own sake. Many women, for in- 
stance, can conceive of doing things just because they want to only 
after they have satisfied the needs and wishes of their children, their 
husbands, their bosses, their friends, and on and on. Because those 
demands are never wholly met, anything they do for themselves is 
accompanied by guilt even if what they are doing is attending to 
their basic health needs, like going out for a jog. One wonderful 
friend of mine told me how her new frontier was simply going for 
a walk because she wanted to just as her husband and stepchildren 
gathered around expecting her, if not to cook dinner, at least to su- 
pervise the process and keep everyone's spirits up. Although she 
could not yet enjoy her walk she felt too guilty at least she was 
able to take it. This, of course, is a step above the even more ru- 
dimentary attempt that many women make at assertion, which is to 
nag or complain, without having enough confidence to assert their 
own views on the world, to demand real change. 

Men who have not addressed their identity issues in any deep way 
find their sense of self-worth primarily through the assertion of their 
superiority. Consequently, their warrioring activities are characterized 
mainly by a struggle to win in their work, their recreation, and 
even their friendships and intimate relationships. One man recognized 
he was in trouble in this area when he discovered he could not even 
allow his daughter to beat him at checkers! 

Under stress, even women and men who have a pretty good idea 
who they are will revert, respectively, to appeasing and caring for 
men and to being competitive, domineering, and opinionated. Whether 
male or female, the journeyer who has not spent some time under 
the tutelage of the Wanderer archetype can be only a pseudo-Warrior. 
And, as I have suggested, the Warrior who has not submitted to the 
teaching of the Martyr will be stuck at a fairly rudimentary, us/them 
level of warrioring. 

A Warrior Culture 

Warriors change their worlds by asserting their will and their image 
of a better world upon them. Whether in families, schools, work- 
places, friendships, communities, or the culture as a whole, this ar- 



THE WARRIOR / 77 

chetype informs Warriors' demands to change their environments to 
suit their own needs and to conform to their values. 

However, people who move into warrioring before dealing with 
their identities cannot really be Warriors, for they either do not know 
what they are fighting for or are fighting mainly to prove their su- 
periority a mechanism for the development of self-confidence that 
never really substitutes for knowing who you are. 

Individuals (and cultures) need to address Wanderer issues every 
time they go through major transitions to answer the question, "Who 
am I this time?" Not having resolved this question, they retain the 
emphasis on the slaying-the-dragon plot, but the form is there without 
the meaning. Accordingly, many people engage in pseudo- warrior- 
ing, in which the myth is acted out for its own sake, but they find 
the ritual itself cannot transform either the hero or the kingdom. 
Ironically, those who represent the old cultural values are less con- 
flicted than people who are engaged more fundamentally in grappling 
with issues of identity raised by changing times. Conservatives, for 
example, are more comfortable slaying dragons than are progres- 
sives, for whom the battle is complicated both by unresolved identity 
questions and by their desire to reconcile their own values and con- 
cerns with the needs of others. 

Whether it is an empty ritual, deeply satisfying, or seen as needing 
redefinition for changing times, the hero/villain/victim myth informs 
our culture's basic secular belief system. The ritual that underlies the 
Warrior myth is found, of course, in war, but it also is played out 
culturally in our sports, our business practices, our religions, and 
even our economic and educational theories. In the realm of sports, 
we have seen over the centuries a progression from gladiatorial con- 
tests in which the loser actually was killed, to football, baseball, or 
soccer, in which the antagonist simply loses. 

The kind of religion that makes headlines results from the War- 
rior's method of problem-solving, from the Crusades to modern fun- 
damentalists' waging war on sin, evil, and the devil. The Warrior's 
approach to spirituality is to identify evil and eliminate it or make 
it illegal. It is the impetus behind the campaign to get prayer back 
into the schools, to wipe out pornography, to get rid of sex education, 
and to deny jobs to homosexuals. The next step up from this is to 
convert sinners. They do not need to be destroyed if they can be 



78 / THE HERO WITHIN 

transformed so that they no longer are villains: They can be saved 
by adopting the same belief system as the hero. 

In politics, too, we have an interesting progression. In the most 
primitive mode, the hero kills the old king (the tyrant) and at least 
theoretically saves the victimized populace. That is how change oc- 
curs. These practices continue into the modern era in many parts of 
the world where change still is brought about by the bloody coup or 
by revolution. In our country we have found a way to avoid such 
bloodshed. The old king is neither ritually dismembered, as in some 
primitive cultures, nor killed in his sleep, nor tried and executed for 
his crimes. But as we are reminded each election year, the rhetoric 
based upon these old practices remains. 

The challenger whether in electoral or intraorganizational poli- 
tics explains how he or she will save the country or the organiza- 
tion, and that the incumbent is responsible for all its ills. The 
incumbent, of course, retaliates by describing how he or she has, in 
fact, made major improvements in the country /the state/the orga- 
nization and how the opposition would ruin things were they in 
power. The language is warlike: We talk about defeating the oppo- 
sition at the polls. We may even say, "We slaughtered them!" This 
warlike language, of course, also is basic to business, in which the 
object is to defeat the competition. The central belief of capitalism 
is based upon the wisdom of this modality: that competition, a ver- 
sion of the contest, will bring about the good life for all better 
products, lower prices. The sports metaphor here is the race. The 
vitality of our country is seen as depending upon this race, upon 
competition. Even our legal system is based on the model of the 
contest. 

Although the person defeated in sports, politics, or business no 
longer is seen as a villain per se, the persistence of this idea is evident 
in the way losing brings shame on the loser a response more ap- 
propriate to a recognition that one is bad than simply that one has 
lost a contest. When Richard Nixon won the presidency, George 
McGovern was pictured by the press as disgraced even though he 
ran an incredibly valiant campaign against great odds. The sense that 
he had been shamed was so great that when he announced his can- 
didacy a second time, it was viewed as an embarrassing thing to do. 
Presumably, having been defeated by such a landslide at the polls, 



THE WARRIOR / 79 

he was supposed to go hide his face, even though it was an amazing 
victory for someone so liberal to have been nominated at all. Con- 
sequently, when he was able to win back a measure of respect from 
the other Democratic hopefuls, the press portrayed that as a major 
"victory." 

There is shame attached to being the losing team or the losing 
candidate, to being poor and hence having lost out in the contest of 
the free market. Such assumptions may explain why we seem in- 
capable as a culture of designing a welfare system that does not 
humiliate the recipients. Many educators envision the learning pro- 
cess as a contest (usually a race) with some students marked as early 
as elementary school as "winners" and others as "losers." Those ex- 
pectations can become self-fulfilling prophecies. The "losers" inter- 
nalize a sense of being unworthy, while the "winners" are spurred 
on to greater efforts by fear of also being failures. Flunking out of 
school or, in more advanced cases, college professors being denied 
tenure is tantamount to disgrace. People do not want to talk about 
it. Or if it is talked about at all, it is in one of two ways: Either it 
is your own fault (i.e., you are the villain) or you have been treated 
unfairly (you are a victim). But it is clear you are not the hero, 
unless, of course, you wage a battle to get reinstated. 

Our culture so consistently reinforces this basic archetype, at least 
for those in power, that the slaying-the-dragon pattern appears to 
them to be the only reality just as the Orphan sees meaningless 
suffering to be just the way things are. 

Warriors tend to focus on the "facts" in an effort to be tough- 
minded: A Marxist will insist that material reality is reality. Any 
other focus on inner, subjective reality, spirituality, etc. is false. 
A fundamentalist Christian will, in the same spirit, insist on taking 
the Bible literally as a blueprint for action. In sports we count plays, 
keep score; in business we look at the bottom line; in education we 
increasingly quantify and look for airtight methodologies; in eco- 
nomics we tabulate the Gross National Product. In all cases, too 
much focus on the impact of these facts on people or people's yearn- 
ings for a better world, too much tender-heartedness, too much hope 
is seen as inappropriate, naive, and unproductive. Good thinking, in 
this view, is linear, hierarchical, and dualistic. 

Thus, Warriors must be tough-minded and realistic in order to 



80 / THE HERO WITHIN 

change the world by slaying dragons. They need to be able to look 
their adversary in the eye and say, "You are a dragon and I am going 
to slay you." Or, "I do not care how you feel, I want to win and 
that means I have to defeat you." Warriors also have to be on the 
lookout for inappropriate qualities within themselves to be slain or 
repressed. 

In the Warrior mode, for instance, a critical question for a feminist 
is to determine who is to blame for sexism. If it is men, then they 
are the enemy. If it is a patriarchal system, then it must be over- 
thrown. Or (as in the case of some socialist feminists), if it is cap- 
italism, then that system, or even perhaps all capitalists, must be 
defeated. A feminist's softer feelings of compassion and care, her 
desires for love with a man or to wear pretty clothes are seen as 
internalized oppression that must be overcome. For the warrioring 
Christian, the issue is the devil without and within. For the person 
in business or for students, it is not only performing at the top of 
the sales or grading curve, but overcoming tendencies to sloth that 
desire just to sit and enjoy the day. 

Warriors share with Martyrs a sense that we should suffer for our 
transgressions. There is a widespread feeling among conservatives 
that it is only natural that the losers in a contest should suffer; hence, 
it makes perfect sense to them that the poor, who lost the economic 
contest, and women, who they see as losing the battle of the sexes, 
should not have as much as the victors. It also is necessary that the 
victors should be rewarded for their superiority because the spoils of 
victory, they believe, inspire excellence. Otherwise, we all might 
languish around, never accomplishing anything. 

Liberals tend to focus more on blaming the oppressors who have, 
indeed, fixed the contest in their own favor, or on trying to guarantee 
that the contest will be fair by developing headstart programs, etc. 
But they rarely question the idea that life is a contest at least they 
do not dare suggest publicly that it may not be! 

In fact, the belief in the hero/villain/victim plot is dogma in our 
culture, with power so great that its invocation renders contravening 
evidence irrelevant. 

Academics, for example, will equate increasing competition with 
quality education, even though most research data supports the view 
that cooperative approaches to learning actually are more effective. 1 



THE WARRIOR / 81 

Many managers continue trying to push employees to greater pro- 
ductivity by promoting an atmosphere of fierce competition when, 
again, research suggests that the most successful business enterprises 
build atmospheres of trust in which employees help one another. 2 

It is critical to remember here that in our culture the Warrior hero 
has been envisioned most often as a white man. Women are cast as 
damsels-in-distress, as the reward along with half the kingdom, or, . 
if they step outside traditional expectations, perhaps as witches, 
temptresses, shrews, or other female variations on the villain arche- 
type. Indeed, the initial phase of the Warrior archetype defines a 
patriarchal way of perceiving and arranging the world, one seen dual- 
istically as a clash between opposing issues, ideas, or forces and 
hierarchically, so that the main concern is always who and what is 
superior or more worthy. The hero's task is to defeat or subject what- 
ever is inferior, within or without, to his will. This phase typically 
is not only sexist, but racist and classist. 

While the hero/villain/victim plot holds enormous power in our 
culture, the challenge we face as Warriors depends upon our ability 
to imagine and assert other truths, other versions of the Warrior myth. 
The logical consequence of continuing to define life as a contest is 
world hunger, environmental devastation, racial and gender inequal- 
ity, nuclear war, and, at the very least, the waste of the talents of 
all those who see themselves as losers. Fortunately, although the 
culture is Warrior-possessed, warrioring has other possible stages and 
forms. 



Stages of the Warrior's Journey 

Warriors' progress through the archetype is dependent upon how 
much they have learned from other archetypes. For example, pseudo- 
Warriors (macho men or women) are really Orphans masquerading 
as Warriors, covering fear with bravado. If they experiment with 
wandering before developing their capacity for care or their sense of 
who they are, they will fight mainly to prove their courage but will 
not have any good idea what they are fighting for, except perhaps 
to win. When they have made some inroads in finding out who. they 
are and what they want, they can fight for themselves, and when 



82 / THE HERO WITHIN 

they have developed some capacity to care for others, they can fight 
for them. 

Furthermore, if Warriors have skipped the lessons of the Wanderer, 
they will feel very lonely as Warriors. If they have not attended 
properly to the lessons of the Martyr, they will be possessed by the 
archetype and martyr themselves to the cause, the business, or the 
team they, as Warriors, fight for. (So, too, if they do not attend to 
the lesson of the Warrior, they will become controlling and mani- 
pulative.) 

Warriors who integrate care with mastery fight for themselves and 
for others. Soldiers fight for their loved ones, country, and to make 
the world a better place. Political leaders, social activists, and con- 
cerned volunteers struggle to improve the lives of those around them. 
It is here that one can see how the lessons of sacrifice and the lessons 
of mastery work together. Gaining a more sophisticated level of skill 
at one allows the development of a more sophisticated level of skill 
at the other. 

The harmful side effects of warrioring come in its more primitive 
forms, just as they do in sacrificing. When it is freed from these 
more dualistic and absolutist forms, warrioring (like sacrificing) be- 
comes a healthy, useful, positive human process. It is the basic pro- 
cess of taking action to protect themselves and those they love from 
harm. Whether it is killing the predatory animal, heading off the 
invading band, or identifying acid rain or nuclear proliferation as a 
threat to humankind, it requires Warriors to take strong action to 
protect us all. 

In each modality explored so far, our hero has learned to deal with 
a difficult experience: the Orphan has dealt with powerlessness; the 
Martyr, pain; the Wanderer, loneliness; and now the Warrior con- 
fronts fear. The levels Warriors experience, then, also are related to 
how well they have learned to confront fear. At the early stages 
the stages in which the only answer seems to be a literal slaying of 
the enemy fear is rampant. The general who cannot imagine 
enough weapons to counter the communist threat is simply controlled 
by fear. His world is defined by a vision of perpetual threat in which 
the villain is imagined to be totally irrational and bent on destroying 
all that he is or holds dear. The only possibility is to kill or be killed. 
The symbolic contest in politics/business/sports/school is mild in 



THE WARRIOR / 83 

comparison, but its fears are real as well: the fear of losing, of not 
being the best, of being inadequate, inferior, a loser. 

At the next level the villain is seen not as someone to slay or to 
defeat, but as someone to convert into a hero. The villain is redefined 
as a victim to be saved. Whether we are talking of crusading Chris- 
tianity, Marxism, feminism, or pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps 
capitalism, Warriors take the truth that enabled them to develop some 
sense of hope and meaning to their life and go out to convert the 
world. Analogously, in private life, Warriors undertake Pygmalion 
projects to improve loved ones and friends. 

The problem of human difference is hard to confront when you 
are yearning to make an ideal, humane world. One of the central 
ways Martyrs try to make the world better is to give up parts of 
themselves that do not seem to fit what others want. Warriors change 
other people. In both case, sameness is seen as a prerequisite to the 
creation of a loving community. We either change ourselves, or we 
get rid of or transform theml 

I recently talked to a charismatic Christian who told me about a 
typical process in that movement. The exultation of conversion, a 
feeling of being reborn and renewed by the church community, often 
is followed by evangelism. The initial belief is that one will just tell 
people about Jesus and they will be saved. But then not only do 
many people show no interest in the "good news," but one's own 
life may not be going so well. The initial euphoria of salvation has 
passed and life still has the same struggles, the same ups and downs. 
The temptation then is to revert to dogmatism and an attempt to 
impose by legislation or social pressure one's views on other peo- 
ple. This urge comes out of a belief that the ideal Christian com- 
munity cannot come about with so much flagrant sin going on. When 
conversion does not transform one's life, true military obedience and 
discipline become required. 

I suspect this is also what happened with Marxism in Russia and 
China. As a liberating truth was put into effect and the Edenic com- 
munity still Idoked a long way off, the antidote for cynicism and 
loss of faith was dogmatism and repression. The same frustration 
produced McCarthyism in our own country. 

Although warrioring, by itself, does not bring a Utopian world, it 
does teach a very important process that contributes to building a 



84 / THE HERO WITHIN 

better world for each one of us. What do Warriors learn? First, they 
learn to trust their own truths and act on them with absolute con- 
viction in the face of danger. To do so, moreover, it is necessary for 
them to take control of, and responsibility for, their own lives. Or- 
phans see themselves as victims, and Wanderers as outsiders. By 
defining oneself as having no power in the culture, one does not have 
to take any responsibility for it. To identify oneself as a Warrior is 
to say, "I am responsible for what happens here," and "I must do 
what I can to make this a better world for myself and for others." 
It also requires Warriors to claim authority, that they have a right to 
assert what they want for themselves and for others. Warriors learn 
to trust their own judgment about what is harmful and, perhaps most 
important, they develop the courage to fight for what they want or 
believe in, even when doing so requires great risk the loss of a 
job, a mate, friends, social regard, or even their very lives. 

Eventually, if they do not regress to find refuge in dogmatism and 
become tyrants, they also will develop flexibility and humility. All 
the liberating truths, by themselves, fail! They fail partly because 
each is just part of the truth; all of us are like the proverbial blind 
men, each feeling one part and trying to describe a whole elephant! 

The hero ultimately learns not the content per se but a process. 
The process begins with an awareness of suffering, then moves to 
telling the story and an acknowledgment to oneself and to others that 
something is painful. Then comes the identification of the cause of 
that pain and taking appropriate action to stop it. The hero replaces 
the absolutist belief that in slaying one dragon we solve all problems 
for all time with a belief that we continue slaying dragons our entire 
lives. He or she learns that the more we slay, the more confident we 
become, and therefore the less violent we have to be. 

And as we have seen, the content itself changes. Gladiatorial con- 
tests are replaced by football. I like to think that war is being replaced 
by posturing and a build-up of weapons. The woman who a few 
years ago would have lambasted a man for a sexist remark now says 
in a fairly bored and disinterested way, "Oh, come off it." Nor is 
there then the requirement of so much violence to the self. The 
stronger and more confident Warriors become, the less they must use 
violence, the more gentle they can be with themselves and others. 



THE WARRIOR / 85 

Finally, they need not define the other as villain, opponent, or po- 
tential convert, but as another hero like themselves. 



Warrioring: Male and Female 

Male and female experiences with the Warrior archetype differ 
significantly. Men are socialized practically from birth to be Warriors, 
so their issue is whether they can develop other sides of themselves 
or even deepen and grow in their experience of the archetype insofar 
as doing so is dependent upon their satisfactory resolution of Orphan, 
Wanderer, and Martyr dilemmas. For women, the issue is whether 
they will have the audacity even to enter a contest culturally defined 
as male, and, if they do, whether they will learn to speak in their 
own voices, to express their own wisdom. Because women usually 
enter the Warrior after the Martyr stage, moreover, they often enter 
at a higher and more complex level. 

Books such as Betty Harragan's Games Mother Never Taught You: 
Corporate Gamesmanship for Women 3 explain the rules of male cul- 
ture to women, for although one can say generally that the Warrior's 
consciousness informs our culture, that is only because it is a pa- 
triarchal culture. Women have been discouraged from doing battle. 
These kinds of books teach women to enter the contest and to learn 
men's rules for doing so. Books such as Anne Wilson Schaef 's Worn- 
en's Reality: The Emerging Female System in a White Male Society 
or Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and 
Women's Development go further to challenge the notion that male 
culture is reality by defining, respectively, an emerging women's 
culture and the stages of women's moral development. Male culture, 
as defined in each case, is equivalent to what I call the warrioring 
modality. 

The hero/villain/victim plot is the characteristically macho way of 
making meaning of the world. Accordingly, there is a certain alien- 
ation for women when they first confront it. This follows naturally 
from male culture's exclusivity. Indeed, both the military and foot- 
ball the institutions that dramatize the myth in its most primitive 
and basic forms have been defined as male-only preserves. Al- 
though there are now women in the military (though not in profes- 



86 / THE HERO WITHIN 

sional football), neither women themselves nor the society as a whole 
have viewed warrioring as an attribute of womanliness. 

But I do not think this alienation means that women do not or 
should not learn warrioring. Women need to learn to struggle, to 
fight for themselves and others, and it is this archetypal pattern that 
teaches them how to do it. Because it has been defined as for men 
only, the warrioring archetype is the new frontier for women. The 
real issue for them and for all Warriors is to learn to come from their 
core and to fight for what they truly believe in and care for. Men 
are so strongly socialized to be Warriors that it not only prevents 
them from developing other aspects of themselves but also tends to 
foster a confusion that sees the battle or -contest as justified for its 
own sake. 

The contest seems so important to men because it has defined their 
identity as males: Man the hunter lives on through all these pseudo 
battles. In our culture, mastery and nurturance have been defined in 
opposition. Women have been charged with nurturance, men with 
mastery. Women fear achievement, agency, and mastery precisely 
because the world that has honored these qualities the male 
world is profoundly painful to them, not only because it does not 
value women, but because it often does not value care. 

Women are offended by the male world because they see little 
love there. Indeed, too often men even have forgotten that the point 
of the battle or the contest is to make the world a better place. On 
the other hand, men are horrified by the female world because they 
see the sacrifice there and fear being swallowed up in it. Because 
women are more apt to explore care and sacrifice before agency, 
they are likely to deplore the killing, the defeating of others all the 
aspects of the battle that hurt other people. Women, therefore, often 
are seduced into the fray only to save others. It was women who 
lent most of the energy to the nineteenth-century reform movements, 
and today they provide much of it to the environmental and peace 
movements. Conversely, many men move into warrioring prema- 
turely when they really still are at the narcissistic Orphan stage, and 
only later begin to see the importance of caring for others. 

When agency is separated from care, it becomes will, domination. 
This is the primary danger of warrioring for men. In Ursula Le 
Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, Sparrowhawk, as a young student 



THE WARRIOR / 87 

of magic, looses something horrid and evil upon the world when, 
merely to show off, he summons the dead. His sin, the typical male 
one, is pride. In his egocentrisrn, Sparrowhawk does powerful magic 
just for his own glory, even though he knows that to do so threatens 
the equilibrium of the world and can have unforeseen effects on 
everyone. He is so engaged with proving himself, however, that he 
does not care about the outcome, which is that a Shadow emerges 
from the underworld that threatens to possess his body and terrorize 
the world. 4 - 

Women's socialization to receptivity poses analogous difficulty for 
them. They may be able to fight for others and not for themselves 
because they think doing so is selfish. In this case, the fray may be 
simply another form of martyrdom. So, too, for some men. Those 
who have integrated care and sacrifice into their lives can fight for 
their country, their company, or their family, but sometimes not truly 
for themselves. Indeed, that the hero traditionally has been cast as 
male and the victim as female holds dangers for both men and 
women. While women may fear the presumption of stepping into the 
heroic role, men may identify their heroism solely in terms of pro- 
tecting and rescuing others especially women and children while 
they neglect the captive victim in themselves: men, they believe, are 
not supposed to need rescue! Neither men nor women can fight in- 
telligently for themselves unless they have taken the time, as Wan- 
derers, to find out who they are and what they want. 

In a ground-breaking work on moral development in men and 
women, In a Different Voice, Gilligan argues that men and women 
solve moral dilemmas differently because they view the world dif- 
ferently. One example she gives is Lawrence Kohlberg's famous 
Heinz dilemma, in which men and women were given a hypothetical 
dilemma to solve: Heinz' s wife is very ill and will die if she is not 
given a specific drug. However, the drug is extremely expensive, and 
Heinz does not have enough money to buy it. He has tried unsuc- 
cessfully to borrow the money, and the druggist is not willing to 
give it to him for less. Should he steal the drug? According to Law- 
rence Kohlberg, at the highest stage of moral development people 
resolve this problem by arguing from universal moral principles: Spe- 
cifically, they will argue the relative merits of property rights versus 
human life. If life is more important, he should steal the drug. If 



88 / THE HERO WITHIN 

property rights are more important, he should not, and presumably 
he then should allow his wife to die. Now, notice that this moral 

reasoning is not only hierarchical which value is more important 

but dualistic. It is, in fact, the equivalent in moral reasoning to the 
shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. May the best value win. 

Gilligan notes that women rarely scored at Kohlberg's highest lev- 
els. Moreover, from a moral development point of view, women 
seemed to be avoiding the questions, asking for more information 
(Has he really explained to the druggist that his wife will die, and 
did anyone try talking with the neighbors or collecting money?) or 
even, to the annoyance of the interviewers, making pronouncements 
like, "He shouldn't steal the drug and he shouldn't let his wife die." 
Gilligan realizes that Kohlberg's formulation of the question and 
thus his resulting scale of moral development was predicated on a 
male way of thinking. Women think about moral questions differ- 
ently, and, hence, these women were answering another question: 
Instead of "Should Heinz steal the drug?" they were asking "Should 
Heinz steal the drug?" The women assumed the necessity of action 
to save the wife's life. Their questions were designed to determine 
the most effective action. 

Beyond the practicality and narrative quality of women's responses 
(If he stole the drug, he might be sent to jail. If she got sick again, 
who would steal it for her?) was a different way of envisioning prob- 
lems. Instead of seeing the world hierarchically as a ladder, the 
women reenvisioned it as a net or web of human interconnectedness. 
Accordingly, rather than defining the basis of most problems as an 
irreconcilable difference between two people/countries/values, women 
saw the problems as arising from a breakdown in the network of 
human connection. The solution when that web was broken was com- 
munication: Has anybody talked to the neighbors? Has he explained 
to the druggist? The other approach was to critique the problem: 
What kind of world is it where a druggist can have a drug, yet let 
a woman die? 5 

In Women's Reality, Anne Wilson Schaef sees an analogous dif- 
ference between what she calls "white male system" and "female 
system" modes of negotiation. In the white male system, a sophis- 
ticated negotiator recognizes that the situation is one of conflict. The 
goal is to get as much as you can for yourself, for your side. You 



THE WARRIOR" / 89 

do so by asking for or demanding more than you want, playing your 
cards close to your chest, and then "dealing" until you get something 
close to what you want. In the female system, the negotiators are 
seen as essentially on the same side. The goal is to be imaginative 
enough so that both people can get as much of what they want as 
they can. So the strategy is to lay your cards on the table and be 
clear about exactly what you want, what it means to you, and then 
to put your heads together to find out how both people can get what 
they want. 6 The former approach is, of course, the basis of our legal 
system, most labor union negotiations, etc. The latter is the basis 
for mediation. 

Although it probably is true that more women than men negotiate 
in the "female system" mode, it also is true that many men learn to 
do so when they move through the more primitive us/them under- 
standing of the Warrior's legacy into more sophisticated (i.e., cog- 
nitively and affectively integrated) approaches to problem solving. 
When Gilligan traced the development of male and female moral 
reasoning over time and through many levels of understanding real- 
ity, she discovered that although men and women still have recog- 
nizable differences in the language and metaphors used, they began 
to sound more and more alike as the thinking of each became more 
complex and subtle. 

I have come to understand that while the emphasis on affiliation 
and nets of connectedness keeps women overlong in the Martyr men- 
tality, women often are able to maintain an affiliative way of thinking 
about the world especially in defining just what they are looking 
for even as they choose independence from the net of connected- 
ness to find themselves and to slay dragons. They go through the 
same stages as men do even though their rhetoric and their basic 
belief systems may conflict with the us/them mentality of the Wan- 
derer and Warrior. They move quickly, then, pushed by a need to 
reconcile the discrepancy between their beliefs and the action mo- 
tivated by the urgency of their own development. Hence they quickly 
redefine warrioring and learn to have an impact on the world through 
bridging and communication rather than by slaying dragons or win- 
ning contests. 

The most important challenge to women's assertiveness today is 
not entering the male-defined contest but their willingness to speak 



90 / THE HERO WITHIN 

in their own voices and with their own wisdom. Men appropriately 
have asserted their own truths in the world, but the suppression of 
the female voice leaves the culture dangerously lopsided. 

Further, the over-reinforcement of the warrioring voice in men 
retards their development in other areas and leaves them and the 
culture at a more primitive level of thinking and assertion than is 
good for many of us. I cannot help noting, however, how many men 
find this macho level of functioning limiting and inappropriate to their 
lives. For such men, the issue is analogous to women's: the challenge 
to become clear enough to speak in a voice that is not yet fully 
validated and articulated in the culture as a whole, and that may 
confuse, alienate, or mystify more conventional people around them. 
As we have seen, men may avoid the lessons of the Martyr and 
consequently have great difficulty moving on to the more subtle, 
complex, and affiliative levels of warrioring. For many it takes a 
crisis to propel them to move on such as a heart attack, ulcers, or 
recognition that the cost of their stoic struggle has been the loss of 
a wife, lover, or children. This crisis usually requires an acknowl- 
edgment of the need to care for oneself and for others. For other 
men, movement into the hero/hero/hero mode from the hero/ villain/ 
victim merely requires that they have so completely experienced the 
Warrior mentality that their inner need for growth propels them 
onward. 



Beyond Slaying the Dragon 

Warrior plots evolve, however, from hero/villain/victim to hero/ 
hero/hero for both male and female heroes. That the Warriors's truth 
is now simply one among many does not preclude commitment to 
ideals, people, causes, beliefs. Warriors embrace their understandings 
with their whole hearts even in a relativistic world. At this point 
someone else who asserts a seemingly antithetical truth may be 
greeted not as an enemy, but as a potential friend: "Here's my truth. 
I will explain it to you as fully as I can, and you can explain yours 
to me." The task of the hero, then, is to bridge, not to slay or 
convert. 

In the history of justice, we see an evolution from a dictator meting 
out punishments, to our justice system, in which one person loses 



THE WARRIOR / 91 

and another wins, to a system of mediation that sees neither party 
as a villain and in which every attempt is made to see that both get 
satisfied. 

The old styles of conflict were jerky, violent, and primitive. In- 
creasingly they have been followed by more gentle and flowing ones. 
From two people slaughtering each other, we have moved to two 
people debating and then asking who won; and, finally, we have two 
people who have grown confident enough to use their differences as 
a way of finding more adequate and complete truths. They brainstorm 
with one another, and then both share what they have learned from 
the exchange. 

I have a fantasy of representatives from the Soviet Union sitting 
down with those of the United States. The U.S.S.R. representatives 
begin by explaining that they feel they have done a great job at 
providing economic equity for their people, but they are concerned 
that it has been at the cost of political repression and a certain dull- 
ness to life. The U.S. ambassadors reply by saying that they, too, 
feel only partly successful. In the U.S. there is much personal free- 
dom and lots of excitement and variety, but there remain great ex- 
tremes of wealth and humiliating poverty. The two powers proceed 
to put their heads together, sharing their own piece of the truth, and 
try to come up with a plan that would combine the best of both 
systems. 

Of course, my fantasy is not realistic today. Such an exchange 
never happens when people are acting out of fear not between 
countries, not between parents and children, and not between men 
and women. 

The developmental gift that comes from confronting one's own 
most frightening dragons whether one slays them or merely stands 
up to them and begins a dialogue is courage and a corresponding 
freedom from bondage to one's fears. At best the Warrior ultimately 
learns to make friends with fear by long acquaintance. Instead of 
being immobilized by it, or coming on like Atilla the Hun, or be- 
coming locked into a paranoid, simplistic mode of addressing prob- 
lems or even repressing it, the hero comes to see that fear is always 
an invitation to growth. 

One of my favorite examples of a hero who develops such a pos- 
itive relationship with her fear comes from Susan Griffin's Women 



92 / THE HERO WITHIN 

and Nature. Griffin writes of "an old woman who was wicked in her 
honesty," who would ask questions of her mirror. When she asks 
why she is afraid of the dark, her mirror tells her, "Because you 
have reason to fear. You are small and you might be devoured." The 
woman determines to become too large to be devoured. But then she 
discovers that she is afraid to be so big, and the mirror explains, 
"There is no disputing who you are. And it is not easy for you to 
hide." The woman then stops hiding. During her next attack of fear, 
the mirror tells her that she is afraid "because... no one else sees what 
you see, no one else can tell you if what you see is true." Then she 
decides to trust herself. 

Many years later she realizes she is afraid of birthdays, and her 
mirror tells her "there is something you have always wanted to do 
which you have been afraid of doing and you know time is running 
out." The woman goes immediately away from her mirror to "seize 
the time." 

Over time, she and her mirror become friends and the mirror would weep 
for her in compassion when her fears were real. Finally, her reflection asked 
her, "What do you still fear?" And the old woman answered, "I still fear 
death. I still fear change." And her mirror agreed. "Yes, they are frightening. 
Death is a closed door," the mirror flourished, "and change is a door hanging 
open." "Yes, but fear is a key," laughed the wicked old woman, "and we 
still have our fears." She smiled. 7 

When Warriors become less frightened, their thinking can relax 
and open to complexity; it then becomes clear how limited the hero/ 
villain/victim formulation of reality is. Tom Robbins' wonderful 
novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues illustrates this. The Cowgirls of 
the Rubber Rose Ranch have taken on the shoot-out at the O.K. 
Corral mentality of the wild-west cowboy. They are preparing to 
shoot it out with the G-Men. The G-Men have been sent by the U.S. 
government ostensibly to rescue the Whooping Cranes who are va- 
cationing on the Rubber Rose property, but they really plan to kill 
these birds. The Cowgirls see themselves as defending the birds (and 
with them, nature) against the assaults of patriarchal civilization. At 
the last moment, the leader of the Cowgirls has a vision from the 
Great Goddess herself, who tells her they should run away. For one 
thing, there is no way they can defeat the G-Men. The contest is too 



THE WARRIOR / 93 

uneven, but she also calls into question the whole concept of villains 
and heroes. The enemy of women, she explains, is not men, just as 
the enemy of blacks is not whites. The enemy is "the tyranny of the 
dull mind." 8 

The vision interrupts their normal hero/villain/victim way of seeing 
the world. Note that the battle here is against an abstraction, not 
people, and that kind of battle requires a different plot. The answer 
is not to slay anything, but to create something new in this case, 
new ways of formulating questions and seeking answers. Further- 
more, when thinking becomes reasonably complex, the whole cast 
of characters is redefined. What does the hero do when the villain 
is redefined not as a dragon to slay, but as "the tyranny of the dull 
mind"? Neither violence nor conversion is appropriate. Instead, we 
need enough imagination to grapple with difference without imposing 
on it notions of good and bad, better or worse. 

The motivation to think more complexly and imaginatively in solv- 
ing conflict comes from a variety of sources. Sometimes the chal- 
lenge is forced upon us when we experience the villain as too big 
to fight. Perhaps this is why women have not taken particularly to 
combat: Men are physically stronger! Gandhi came up with a more 
complex and successful approach to liberating India than the typical 
call to arms because the British had such an incredible military ad- 
vantage. Combat was not feasible as a way to win the battle. 

The outsider almost always comes to understand that those in 
power consciously or unconsciously rig the contest. Affirmative ac- 
tion, as typically practiced, means that women and minorities, to be 
seen as worthy, are expected to live up to a pattern designed by 
white men in their own image. Ultimately, those against whom the 
contest is rigged lose faith in the contest even if there are a few 
visible tokens who do make it. It is not only women and minorities 
who are losing faith in the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral method, but 
white men as well. This is happening not only because today's prob- 
lems seem so overwhelming to white men, too, and so unresponsive 
to violent solutions, but also because the former damsel-in-distress 
has redefined herself and is taking her own journey. 

One of the major formative experiences for the protagonist of John 
living's Hotel New Hampshire is the gang rape of his sister. He is 
powerless to protect her as a teenager, when it happens, but after- 



94 / THE HERO WITHIN 

wards he takes up weightlifting. He clearly is determined to be pow- 
erful enough to defend her in the future. However, many years later, 
when he meets the initiator of the gang rape, he does not know what 
to do, partly because he realizes he does not know what his sister 
Franny would want him to do. In a moment of anger, he picks up 
her former attacker, Chipper Dove, and then just puts him down. 

He does so because he thinks of Franny not as a classic damsel- 
in-distress but as a peer, a hero in her own right. So instead of 
rescuing her, he backs her up as she gets revenge on Chipper Dove. 
It is, he realizes, her story, her tragedy, and ultimately her fight, not 
his. Because he loves her, however, he helps her. 

What he learns is that, even then, revenge is not the answer. It 
does not take away the pain, and he is left forever with that sense 
of powerlessness, a sense that he cannot protect the people he loves 
one of the hardest lessons for men, trained as they are to find a sense 
of esteem and identity through the role of protector. He explains, "I 
would feel, for the rest of my life, as if I were still holding Chipper 
Dove by his armpits his feet a few inches above the ground of 
Seventh Avenue. There was really nothing to do with him except put 
him down; there never would be anything to do with him, too with 
our Chipper Doves we just go on picking them up and putting them 
down, forever." 9 Irving's hero moves away from warrioring into a 
more generative mode and devotes his life to caring for his father, 
supporting his wife's shelter for victims of rape and battering, and 
finally raising his sister Franny's child. For many men, learning to 
nurture and care for and, in doing so, gaining an identity that is less 
confined by the culture's more stereotyped images of masculinity 
makes it possible to move on to more complex ways of warrioring 
and provides the prerequisites for becoming Magicians. 

The failure of skill and courage for the Warrior also can lead to 
moments of transcendence and spiritual surrender Tom Brown, Jr., 
writes in The Search about going into the forest with only the clothes 
on his back and a knife and not coming out for a year. He was 
prepared for the year by Stalking Wolf, a Native American teacher, 
who taught him to be a tracker. He managed not only to survive 
even a very hard, cold winter but to enjoy the time thoroughly. 

The most rewarding experience came near the end of his sojourn 
in the forest when he went on a very long fast. After twelve days, 



THE WARRIOR / 95 

he was about to start eating again when something strange happened. 
None of his skills served him. For seven more days, every animal 
he tried to stalk eluded him, and he feared he would starve to death. 
He was very weak and began to have fainting spells when he had a 
clear chance of killing a small animal, but his hand stopped and 
would not move. At that point, he gave up and just surrendered: 

Something, some other force, was in charge of my limbs. Or was it? Perhaps 
there was a deeper level of my consciousness that was now in control of my 
body, that knew, that realized more than my logical, trained consciousness 
could ever understand. And that was that I had nothing to fear. That what 
I must do is wait and surrender myself to the earth around me. To give in 
to what I was and had always been and that was not a conquering pioneer. 
I did not have to give up, only give in. To flow with the spirit of rny 
surroundings. To be different from, and yet a part of the earth. Give in. 
Give in. Become... You are it and it is you, and we are all one entity. Like 
the ant and the bird. Like the leaves and the mulch. Like the earth. 10 

This experience of surrender to himself and to the knowledge of 
oneness brings him exquisite joy. In the next instant a deer almost 
walks up to him. He kills it and eats a feast of thanksgiving. 

This moment of letting go is not always so transcendent. Some- 
times it is motivated by powerlessness, by the heart attack, by loss 
of a loved one, by a tragic event, and there is nothing to do but 
accept it. Sometimes it is only maturity and the knowledge that none 
of the Warrior's skills are effective against death that force the War- 
rior to "give in" to greater life. 

Warriors become burned out because they live life as a struggle 
against others and against parts of themselves they see as unworthy. 
I have seen so many men and women finally realize how the struggle 
to be one up ultimately was killing them their souls and their heart, 
and sometimes also their bodies. (Maybe the reason women live lon- 
ger than men is that they spend less of their lives warrioring.) War- 
riors who once felt such justifiable pride and exuberance over their 
attainment of the ability to take charge of their lives and make things 
happen, years later begin to feel exhausted and drained. The trans- 
formation for many occurs when they start looking at all the strat- 
egies they are using just to keep going: addictions to caffeine, uppers, 
alcohol, or simply mobilizing their fear of failure to keep them racing 
onward and upward. In the latter case, a healthy desire to achieve 



96 / THE HERO WITHIN 

has become obsessive and addictive. What they need then is to admit 
their ordinary human vulnerability, their need for love, for other 
people, for spiritual and physical sustenance and nurturance. 

Warriors first develop confidence by proving their superiority to 
others, because they have taken more control over their own lives 
than most and can make things happen while others seem to wait 
passively for things to happen to them. One of the gifts, then, when 
control fails is the dawning recognition that fundamentally we are 
not that different from one another. We are all in the same boat, and 
we are all, ultimately, interdependent: We need other people; we need 
the earth; we need God. 



The Warrior Lover 

When Warriors give over control as Tom Brown does in The 
Search they move beyond the one up/one down view of life. The 
only reason to want to be one up is a belief that it is not fine to be 
just ordinary. Previously, not being special or different was equated 
with the Orphan's powerlessness, and therefore seemed contemptible 
to Warriors. In recognizing oneness with the earth and interdepen- 
dence with other people, they come to honor humanness in people 
who are in control of their lives and also in those who have given 
over the control or have had it wrested from them. When heroes give 
up the need to be better than, they stop having to prove themselves 
all the time and can, at least occasionally, just be. 

It is symbolically important that at the end of the old heroic myth, 
after he has confronted his fear by slaying the dragon, the Warrior 
comes home and marries. The reward for his battle is that he be- 
comes, finally, a lover. Without the skills of assertion and boundary- 
setting, there can be no really peer love relationship. Otherwise, one 
person simply conquers and the other appeases. These skills allow 
for the creation of a positive relationship with another human being, 
with institutions, and with the world in general, and ultimately make 
it possible to love and savor life itself. 

Many of the great lovers of literature began by quarreling with 
one another for example, William Shakespeare's Beatrice and Ben- 
edict (Much Ado About Nothing), Jane Austen's Darcy and Elizabeth 
(Pride and Prejudice). They each had the strength, self-respect, and 



THE WARRIOR / 97 

facility for assertion that allowed them to negotiate a mutually sat- 
isfactory relationship. Healthy intimacy demands the daily, hourly- 
assertion of who you are and what you want and a willingness to 
look at how conflicting desires can come together to create a mutually 
enriching life. 

So, too, in business or with friends. You have only part of the 
equation if you invent a better mousetrap but cannot market it. Being 
good at your work is only one step toward job satisfaction. The next 
step is to see that you are appreciated, respected, and rewarded for 
your work, and that requires an ability to negotiate and to influence 
your world to bridge with other people and with institutions. 

The first few times Warriors try asserting their own wishes they 
inevitably will engage in overkill and therefore not get very good 
results. However, at the next stage, they learn to be more subtle and 
politic and get what they want more often. Ultimately, however, war- 
riors give over control of the outcome and assert themselves as part 
of the dance of life. The process of assertion then becomes its own 
reward because it makes them daily more themselves. 

It is then that miracles begin to happen. Often after they have let 
go of their attachment to a particular outcome, when they have put 
themselves and their desires out there with no attendant wish to ma- 
nipulate people or make people satisfy them, Warriors discover that 
the results are better than they even dared hope for. It is at this point 
that Buddhist notions of nonattachment and Christian or Jewish mys- 
tic beliefs about transcending ego begin to make sense and to be 
useful to the hero. 

Warriors who have proven their ability to defend themselves and 
fight for what they want tend to be respected and to respect them- 
selves. They can negotiate a way to be true to themselves and to 
lovers, friends, colleagues, and institutions. Life at this point is not 
as painful as it once was. Warriors now are ready to lay down their 
arms and become lovers, and to savor the life they have made, hon- 
oring and loving themselves, other people, and the earth. 

As we first experience the power of the archetype of the Warrior, 
we take up arms to defend ourselves and to fight for what we want. 
As we learn the warrior's lessons more fully, all this seems remote 
to us, and we are likely to assert, as did a bumper sticker I saw 
recently, "Arms are for hugging." 



Chapter 5 

THE MARTYR 

Perhaps the dress of flesh 
is no more than a familiar garment 
that grows looser as one diets 
on death, & perhaps we discard it 
or give it to the poor in spirit, 
who have not learned yet 
what blessing it is 
to go naked? 

ERICA JONG, "Is Life the Incurable Disease?" 



The 



basic plot of the martyr archetype is enacted in an- 
cient rituals of sacrifice in fertility religions. As such, it speaks to 
us about the cycle of nature, which moves from birth in the spring 
to summer ripeness, fall harvest, and winter desolation and death. 
The old Dionysian rites, for instance, included dismembering the god 
and dispersing his parts until nothing of him seemed left. Basic to 
every fertility religion is the knowledge that death and sacrifice are 
prerequisite to rebirth. This is a basic law of the natural and the 
spiritual worlds. 

While the Orphan seeks rescue from suffering, the Martyr em- 
braces it, believing it will bring redemption. The rags-to-riches 
plots and romantic love stories discussed earlier, along with gothic 
novels, saints' lives, and other similar genres, all dramatize and rein- 
force this belief. So do our major religions. As Carol Ochs argues 
in Behind the Sex of God, the central stories of Judaism and Chris- 
tianity Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac and God the Fath- 
er's willingness to sacrifice Christ dramatize the healing power of 
martyrdom. 1 

If love for one's child is great, sacrificing that child is the ultimate 
sacrifice, greater even than dying oneself. Taken metaphorically, the 
willingness to sacrifice one's "child" also may represent a movement 



THE MARTYR / 99 

beyond the narcissistic egocentricity of the Orphan that requires us 
to learn to give and care not only when it is easy but also when it 
is hard, when it feels as if giving is at one's own expense. 

Sacrifice and martyrdom have received much bad press lately, 
whether in the male or female mode, yet there is hardly a soul who 
does not believe in it in some form. At its base is a recognition that 
"I am not the only person in the world." Sometimes I choose to do 
something not so much because I want to, but because it will be 
good for someone else or because I believe it to be right. Some 
sacrifice is necessary in order to interact lovingly with other people. 

Sacrifice as Self-Abnegation 

There are two major reasons for our distrust of martyrdom be- 
sides the basic human distaste for suffering. Most of the martyrdom 
we see around us is at a very rudimentary level of development 
pseudo-martyrdom, really. The stereotype of the American mom or 
the Jewish mother reflects in exaggerated form the destructive effects 
of being prematurely assigned to the Martyr role with no permission 
to 'find oneself or to fight for what you yourself want. Its results are 
bitterness, manipulation, and a general sense of guilt and dis-ease. 

Women are particularly suspicious of the glorification of sacrifice 
because they have done more than their rightful share of it, to the 
exclusion of their growth in other areas. At some point the culture's 
tasks became divided up. Men were expected to compete in a mar- 
ketplace metaphorically envisioned as a "jungle" and to fight when 
necessary to protect hearth and home. Women were expected to cre- 
ate a world marked by care and gentleness in the home. The creation 
of the private sanctuary from the storm was dependent upon sacri- 
fice not only the necessary sacrifices required by raising children, 
but more than that. Because men had opted out of the world of care 
for the world of conquest, women were expected to supply the care 
for both of them. 

The sacrifice of women's development in this scheme until recently 
has been seen as redemptive for both men and women. Of course, 
this arrangement has been crippling to women because, instead of 
sacrifice being just one developmental task, it has defined their whole 
lives. Furthermore, the mythos of love and sacrifice has been used 



100 / THE HERO WITHIN 

to keep women in traditional and limited roles. Consequently, the 
women's movement has not been very respectful in its rhetoric to- 
wards sacrifice; yet martyrdom has informed much of the behavior 
in the movement just as in many other revolutionary movements. 

For example, Eleanor Smeal, president of NOW, said in an in- 
terview in the Cincinnati Enquirer (3/18/83) that she understands the 
workers in the women's movement because she is one of them: "I 
know why people make the 100,000th phone call even though they're 
so tired they want to drop. I know about loyalty. I know why this 
movement was their life and is their life. The 4 oomph' in the move- 
ment is people caring. When that stops, the women's movement will 
stop." The reporter notes that something about this woman with a 
"perpetually tired voice touches people." 

What we see here is women sacrificing in a Martyr mode that is 
more typically male working tirelessly and at whatever cost to 
one's health or happiness for one's country, company, or cause. And, 
of course, women run the risk of experiencing the same problems 
men have, of giving for a cause or an abstraction without specific 
attention to the impact of their actions on individuals. For instance, 
a parent works all the time to provide a good future for his or her 
child, but never really knows the child; a politician works for "the 
people" but really has contempt for ordinary people who do not have 
power and connections. 

For women in our culture, sacrifice has been accorded a value in 
itself. It is not just sacrifice for someone or something, but suffering 
itself, especially for love, that is redemptive. Traditional literature 
has encouraged this attitude. Chaucer's Patient Griselda of the Can- 
terbury Tales, for instance, is portrayed as a perfect medieval wife. 
She continues to be loving to her lord (her husband) even when he 
sets her aside, brings in a new wife, and pretends to have killed her 
children. Throughout all this she patiently serves him. He finally sees 
her worth, proclaims her the ideal wife, sends away the other woman, 
brings back her children, and they live happily ever after. 2 

For many people in real life, however, sacrifice is not rewarded 
in this storybook way. The wife may sacrifice continually, hoping to 
win the approval and love of her husband or children, yet find she 
is taken increasingly for granted. The employee may give up his 
weekends and evenings to the company without any reward. Indeed, 



THE MARTYR / 101 

often people watching a Martyr cut into themselves to do for others 
assume they have no self-esteem and treat them accordingly. 

Many religious people try to be really "good" to please God. They 
assume that if they do so they will be spared the trials and pains 
other people experience in their lives. When this turns out not to be 
the case, they may become disillusioned and lose their faith de- 
claring that God is dead or instead intensify their efforts, trying to 
convert others, to stamp out sin within and without all in the hope 
of finding for themselves some exemption from life's suffering. Mar- 
tyrs have learned that more is required of life than waiting passively 
for rescue. They believe that salvation must be earned by suffering 
and hard work. In this initial way, Martyrs work very hard to please 
God, their employers, their mates. What they want is love and es- 
teem. Their efforts are a conscious or unconscious attempt to earn 
whatever they so desperately need. When they feel this way, it never 
occurs to them that they may deserve to have love and respect simply 
by the fact of their being alive, so they bargain. The contemporary 
film Amadeus illustrates this tendency in pathological extreme. Sal- 
ieri, the protagonist of the film, bargains with God while a boy, 
saying he will give his industry, obedience, and chastity if God will 
make him a great composer. He becomes a good composer and is 
very pleased with himself and with God until he meets Mo- 
Zart. Mozart is disobedient, disrespectful, undisciplined, and cer- 
tainly not chaste, yet when he composes he does not even have to 
make corrections. Salieri concludes that God has made the infamous 
Mozart into a divine instrument instead of the virtuous Salieri. The 
injustice is too much for Salieri to bear, so he declares war on Mozart 
and on God. 

This mentality, which informs the first stage of martyrdom for 
most people, is really pseudo-martyrdom. The actions are sacrificial, 
the form is right, but the goal is the same as the Orphan's to find 
a way to be saved. In this mode, Martyrs not only feel deprived most 
of the time because they are sacrificing parts of themselves in an 
effort to get validation from God or from other people, but, like 
Salieri, they often also are angry. It is essential to them that other 
people follow the same rules they have bought into because they 
cannot fully believe their sacrifices will work for them unless the 
same system works for other people. They need the unmarried preg- 



102 / THE HERO WITHIN 

nant woman to suffer (they may outlaw abortion, for instance) or 
their chastity will seem less virtuous; they need welfare chiselers to 
be punished or their hard work seems meaningless. Their worst fury, 
like Salieri's, goes toward those who flout the rules and still seem 
to flourish. And they make it their business to see that they do not 
flourish long. At this level, they need to see others punished to be- 
lieve that their goodness will bring an exemption for them. 

Even worse, martyrdom often is used to camouflage cowardice. 
Martyrs can hide behind this mask of being good and unselfish as a 
way to avoid taking their journeys, finding out who they are, or 
taking a stand. Much of the appeal of traditional sex roles, especially 
as they act themselves out in marriage relationships, is that the part- 
ners need not know who they are. Moreover, since the roles are so 
completely elaborated culturally, it is not necessary to become truly 
intimate and know one another. It is all very good and safe, and 
quite deadly to the process of individuation. 

The reason martyrdom is such a trap for women is that it gets 
them off the hook on the issue of personal growth and of making a 
significant contribution to the world. When they fear they are not 
good enough or that they will be punished by the culture for having 
the audacity to declare themselves heroes with journeys to take, 
women can take refuge in the apparent virtue of self-sacrifice. 

If a woman is having trouble in her career if she fears failure, 
for instance, or if she has trouble with the Warrior culture she finds 
in the male work world, or if she is exhausted because she is doing 
all the housework in addition to her career she has the option of 
a seemingly virtuous escape and may decide to quit and stay home 
with her children. While in some cases it certainly is appropriate to 
decide to stay home with a child or to take care of elderly or infirm 
people, it is not honest to use them as excuses for the fear of failure, 
for not asserting one's own needs and values in the workplace, or 
for not insisting that one's partner or family share responsibility for 
domestic tasks. Similarly, in Washington, D.C., these days virtually 
every man who resigns from high office announces he wants to go 
back to private life to spend more time with his family. While in 
some cases this may be true, it also is true that this "mom and apple 
pie" statement frees him from having to declare the real reasons he 
is leaving, whether they be political disagreements with the White 



THE MARTYR / 103 

House, disgust with a situation, or failure to assert that men in gov- 
ernment also have the right to time with their families. 



Transformative Sacrifice 

Sacrifice is not always a way to manipulate God or other people 
into giving you what you want or a way of avoiding challenge, risk, 
and pain; it also can be given freely as an expression of genuine love 
and care. At a higher level, the Martyr is not trying to bargain to 
save self but believes that the sacrifice of the self will save others. 
This is what the Christ story is about: sacrificing to save others. 
Accordingly, God so loved the world that Jesus God's own son 
was sacrificed in a most brutal way to atone for human sin and to 
open the gates of heaven to us. Similarly, the proponents of modern 
existentialist thought, finding no inherent meaning in life's suffering, 
often urge social action and putting aside instant gratification of 
whims in favor of working to make the world a better place for us , 
all. This same impulse is there in parents who see little hope of 
improving their own lives but who then sacrifice to make a better 
life for their children. 

The decision to care, even at the cost of self-sacrifice, is a choice 
here for life and against despair. It also is the dominant spiritual 
lesson people have been working on for thousands of years and, as 
we have seen, it is the essence of Christianity and Judaism, as well 
as much of leftist and liberal politics. 

I was talking recently with a friend about this book, and he said 
that to him the hero is someone who has endured life's trials and 
tribulations. When pressed, he explained he meant something more 
than that. Heroes, he continued, not only endure hardships, they 
maintain their love of life, their courage, and their capacity to care 
for others. No matter how much suffering they experience, they do 
not pass it on to others. They absorb it and declare: Suffering stops 
here. 

For some people, the movement from gratuitous suffering to sac- 
rifice in the name of care provides a major sense of pride and self- 
esteem and is the transition point out of the Orphan stage. A woman 
might explain to herself or to others that she would not have abor- 
tions, leave her children in daycare, or neglect her husband to sel- 



104 / THE HERO WITHIN 

fishly pursue a career; her husband might explain that he does not 
run around on his wife like other guys, cheat in business, or neglect 
his children, even though in doing so he has lost many opportunities 
for fun and profit. 

In the primitive Martyr's morality, it is appropriate for mothers to 
sacrifice for their children. Their daughters, in turn, will sacrifice for 
theirs. Fathers and sons are expected to give their lives willingly, if 
called, for their country. Everyone sacrifices themselves to God, or 
more precisely they sacrifice those parts of themselves that are seen 
as wrong or sinful in the service of good. There is nothing much 
going on but sacrifice. It has become an end in itself and, hence, 
does nothing to improve the world. Indeed, it usually adds to the 
world's cumulative pain. 

Such is the situation in Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Yossarian, the 
central character, comes to see the social system he lives in (the army 
during World War II) as defined entirely by suffering and with every 
victim victimizing someone else: "Someone had to do something 
sometime. Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and 
somebody had to stand up sometime to try to break the lousy chain 
of inherited habit that was imperiling them all." 3 Although he has 
been told he is flying bombing missions to save home and country, 
he comes to recognize that he is really doing so to save Milo 
Minderbinder's international business interests. So he stops flying. 
Yossarian knows that he cannot necessarily be free, since the army 
can court-martial him. However, instead of the meaningless affliction 
of flying more missions, this refusal can have some positive effect. 
At the very least, he is living by his own values and has regained 
his integrity. At most, other people may refuse to fly more bombing 
missions too. Then the chain of suffering may be broken. 

Yossarian comes to understand that the sacrifices he has been 
forced to make not only are not transformative, they are actively 
destructive to himself and to others. As long as he keeps flying bomb- 
ing missions, he complies with the forces that are killing people 
needlessly on both sides. The choice to say "no" also requires sac- 
rifice perhaps of an honorable discharge and hence of respect and 
career opportunities back home; yet this sacrifice is transformative 
because it is an appropriate and courageous response to the actual 
needs of his specific situation. 



THE MARTYR / 105 

Such is the transformative sacrifice of our great political and re- 
ligious martyrs, who genuinely give their lives to make the world a 
better place. Equally ennobling are acts by which people risk their 
own lives to save others. For example, a few years ago a passenger 
on an airliner that crashed into the Potomac in a snowstorm stayed 
in the water and helped save the lives of several fellow passengers. 
He eventually succumbed to exhaustion and hypothermia and 
drowned. 

We see this kind of ennobling sacrifice not only in people who 
die to save others but also in those who spend their whole lives 
helping them. I think of famous examples, such as Mother Teresa 
of India; but I also think of the many people who take jobs that in 
our society are not very rewarding in terms of pay or chance for 
promotion, simply because they care. They may be working in day- 
care facilities, in homes for the aged, in community organizing, or 
in many other places that make such a difference in the lives of 
people. Few may know who they are, but they daily make the world 
a better place to be in. 

Although rewards may not translate into material wealth or power 
in the world, genuine sacrifice is tranformative and not maiming. 
How can you tell whether you are giving appropriately? When you 
are, doing so feels compatible with your identity, an outgrowth of 
who you are. Ultimately, we know who we are by what we would 
die for. Great martyrs like Martin Luther King, Jr., for instance, so 
believed in themselves and their cause or principles that they know- 
ingly risked death rather than the soul-harming living death of being 
less than they could be. So, too, Mother Teresa. She works with the 
homeless and dying because that is who she is. For many of us, 
making decisions about when and how much to sacrifice helps us 
learn who we are. 

Sacrifice and Identity 

The capacity to sacrifice, like any skill, always needs some fine 
tuning. It is one thing to sacrifice briefly one's sleep to comfort a 
child with a bad dream; it is quite another for a mother to sacrifice 
her whole career for a child. It is one thing for a father to sacrifice 
his desire to go fishing today because he needs to go to work to feed 



106 / THE HERO WITHIN 

the family; it is quite another to work for forty years at a job he 
hates. There are, of course, times, places, and situations in which 
such extreme sacrifices are called for and when (rarely) they are 
genuinely necessary, they can be ennobling. But often such massive 
sacrifice, if not a result of cowardice, comes from an inability to 
discriminate between giving that is necessary and life-giving and giv- 
ing that brings death to the Martyr and hence to those around him 
or her. 

There is a thin line between giving and unhealthy "enabling" (i.e., 
supporting someone else's dependency or irresponsibility). Some- 
times we persist in giving to people who use our gifts and energy 
only to help themselves continue in a destructive pattern. This be- 
havior is demonstrated most clearly by an enabler-addict symbiotic 
relationship in which one person seems totally selfless, helping the 
other, but actually is making it possible for the other to persist in a 
deadly habit such as a chemical addiction or other self-destructive 
actions. This also may be the case in less extreme form with parents 
who continue to support children financially long after they should 
be supporting themselves. Enabling is evident in the oft-repeated 
situation of the housewife who takes care of everything so her hus- 
band can continue his workaholic behavior. It also is characteristic 
of traditional husbands who discourage their wives from working or 
even driving promising to take care of them and hence stunting 
their development. 

An easy litmus test can determine whether one is giving or ena- 
bling. If, when we give, we feel either used or smugly superior, it 
is time to look at what really is going on. Healthy giving is respectful 
of both the giver and the receiver. If Martyrs do not acknowledge 
that other able-bodied adults are capable of taking care of themselves, 
they are crippling them. If they use giving to feel superior, then they 
really are masking their own sense of inadequacy, something that 
must be attended to. Otherwise they will have a vested interest in 
keeping other people dependent for the satisfaction of feeling needed 
and important. And, finally, if Martyrs think giving is more virtuous 
than receiving, they are likely to give inappropriately and also to 
block the gifts they do receive, so they always feel shortchanged. 

At best we do not sacrifice ourselves for others; we help others 
and we sharpen and define ourselves as we make choices. We sac- 



THE MARTYR / 107 

rifice some things we could be for other things, and in this way 
create, carve out a self, an identity. If I go to the store and see 
something that both my friend Eiissa and I would like and buy us 
both one, that is giving but it is not sacrifice. But what if I have 
only enough money to buy one? Then I am faced with a hard choice. 
Will I sacrifice my own longing for it and buy it for Eiissa, or will 
I buy it for myself? Either way I have to give up something either 
the item or the experience of pleasing my friend. Making a choice 
in a situation of scarcity whether of money, goods, or time helps 
me define what is most important to me at the time and hence to 
know more about who I am. In that sense, I win whichever way I 
choose, if I choose honestly and not out of a sense of what I ought 
to do. 

Many concepts about sacrifice in our culture are confusing because 
our language and our attention focus on the outer forms of things. 
Consider two mothers who decide to forgo their careers to devote 
themselves to raising their children. On the surface, both seem to 
have sacrificed a career to motherhood. But when we look deeper 
we learn that the process was very different for each of them. 

Suzanne was a statistician. She loved her work and was just be- 
ginning to develop her skill and her reputation. When she found 
herself pregnant she was torn because she believed a mother should 
stay home with her child; but she really wanted to work. In the end, 
she decided to choose the child's welfare over her own and stayed 
home, all the while longing for the time when she could go back to 
work. 

Madeleine, on the other hand, was a big-time journalist. People 
were amazed when she gave up a thriving career to stay home with 
her son. The truth was that she felt she had done journalism, that 
she had learned all she could there for now. Indeed, in her way of 
looking at things she had developed her "masculine" side, and she 
wanted to develop her "feminine," nurturing side. She was, she 
noted, really tough. Now she wanted to learn to be more gentle. A 
few years later when she went back to work her stories had a new 
depth to them, and her toughmindedness was mixed with a fuller 
humanity, a greater depth of compassion. 

It is clear, here, how Madeleine's relatively painless sacrifice is 
congruent with her individuation process. However, so is Suzanne's. 



108 / THE HERO WITHIN 

She discovers in this more painful way that she is a person who 
believes staying home with one's children is more important than 
having a career. If she takes responsibility for this choice as her own, 
it also can be a big step forward in her life. Or if she later discovers 
that it was not a free choice but simply a conditioned one, she will 
have learned and can make new choices. However, if she does not 
take responsibility, in either case, for her choice and for its conse- 
quences, she may become destructive to herself and others by be- 
coming bitter, by blaming her husband (instead of taking a stand 
with him if necessary to support her new choice), or by blaming her 
child. Then both pay. 

Appropriate sacrifice gives Martyrs a deeper knowledge of their 
values and commitments to work and to others and hence makes them 
more, not less, themselves. Conversely, inappropriate sacrifice 
makes them lose touch with themselves and with the capacity for 
love, intimacy, or the joy of connection. The result is a tendency to 
vicarious experience, to substitute someone else's identity for their 
own. Thus, it becomes critical that the other person live up to their 
expectations. 

For example, parents who give up their lives for their children 
almost always demand tribute that the child give his or her life to 
validate or justify the parent's sacrifice by being successful, dutiful, 
attentive. Children then are not allowed just to be themselves. But 
if the parents' giving has been appropriate, reflecting what they also 
needed to do for themselves, then they do not need tribute, even 
though they undoubtedly will appreciate their children's love and 
gratitude. 

I remember a newspaper story not too long ago that moved me 
profoundly. A couple had lost their adolescent son. When inter- 
viewed, they emphasized not their incredible loss, but their grate- 
fulness at having had him for sixteen years. They did not have to 
see him grown and successful to feel their efforts and probably ap- 
preciable sacrifices had "paid off." The experience of parenting him 
was its own reward. 

Similarly, I was talking recently with a friend who is a massage 
therapist. She said she became aware that she had been sending out 
signals to people that she wanted them to show appreciation for her 
work by telling her how great she was. She felt she was giving so 



THE MARTYR / 109 

much to her work that she wanted something back beyond the fee 
she charged. Then it came to her that she loved her work. It was 
the work of her heart. Doing massage was its own reward. Later she 
came to see that she also had a perfect right to want and get praise. 
As her self-confidence grew, she found appreciation all around her. 
It was her original fear that she would not be cared about that caused 
her to try to control the outcome of her efforts. When her faith in 
herself and the universe grew, she could both give for the sake of 

giving and know she always would have everything she needed 

enough money, friends, love, and appreciation. 

When we look at the profound impact martyrs like Christ or Gan- 
dhi have had on the world, it is understandable that some people 
respond by glorifying martyrdom itself. At a more complex level of 
analysis, however, one need not conclude that their example requires 
the rest of us to be martyred. There are many different missions, 
many different paths. For Christ, dying freely for love's sake was a 
fulfillment of his life. For another person, martyrdom might be an 
escape from the tough demands of life. The beginning of wisdom is 
being able to distinguish between transformative sacrifice and mere 
suffering caused because we are too cowardly or too unimaginative 
to think of a more joyous way to live. 

Some sacrifice is required for life. The birth of every child is 
attended by pain. For the mother, it is the pain of labor; for the child, 
the torturous journey through the birth canal into a strange world. 
We cannot become adults without leaving behind childhood, and we 
cannot move beyond this world without dying. The price of making 
a commitment to another person, a cause, a work is a loss of freedom 
of all the other possible choices you could be making. As Janice 
Joplin sang in "Me and Bobby McGee": "Freedom's just another 
word for nothing left to lose." The only way to be totally free is not 
to commit, but then we have nothing. 

Behind much of asceticism is a superstitious belief that if we do 
not really live this life, we will not have to die. Beauty, sensuality, 
passion, all are suspect because they seduce us from focusing on the 
timeless beauty of God by enamoring us with earthly beauty. Ascetics 
and all the rest of us who have fears about fully experiencing life, 
then, fail to receive it and hold ourselves apart from its blessings. 
Deep in the human psyche is the fear that we will pay dearly for 



110 / THE HERO WITHIN 

our pleasures. This is blatant, certainly, in fundamental Protestantism 
and Catholicism, in which pleasures of the flesh potentially can result 
in eternal damnation! 

We have been taught that we must give back, and give back in 
predetermined ways. Or we fail to take in all that is given to us 
because we have defined giving as virtuous and taking as selfish and 
Orphan-like. Our self-esteem comes from being virtuously altruistic, 
so we block out our awareness of how much we receive daily. To 
give well, we also must receive well. We cannot have one without 
the other. 

Once we define ourselves as the giver in a particular situation or 
relationship, we may not notice how much we also receive. This is 
particularly true for parents. I remember one day I had gone over 
my limit giving to my daughter. I came home from a particularly 
intense day at work, made her a quick bite to eat, and rushed to get 
her and her friend to their gymnastics lesson. The lessons were too 
far from home to come back, so I waited, hungry and tired, for an 
hour and a half, bit my tongue when she fooled around after practice, 
rushed home, got her bathed and dressed for bed, and read a story. 
I still had not had time to eat or change out of my business clothes. 

When she then demanded in a rather whiny voice that I also sing 
her to sleep, I said rather crossly, 4 Tm tired. You have to think of 
me sometimes, too." As she turned over to go to sleep, she reached 
over, touched my cheek with her little hand, and said, "Mom, I 
always think of you." There was such love in her voice that I felt 
fully seen and loved by her. Certainly that was as great a gift as my 
taking her to her lessons and making her dinner. But had I been 
attached to the idea of my martyrdom as a mother, I could not have 
let in her love and her simple, honest way of giving it to me. Then 
I still would have felt depleted instead of suddenly quite full. 

Bringing her up, too, I have reconnected with the little girl in me, 
learned to play again, and experienced daily delight and love.When 
I fully let that in, I know that she has brought at least as much to 
me as I have shared with her. Very few of our relationships really 
have to be one way. Therapists learn from their clients; teachers learn 
from their students; ministers learn from their congregations. When 
the energy is not flowing both ways, something is wrong. If the 
giving and receiving happen with no blocking, then both receive 



THE MARTYR / 111 

more than they give for the process intensifies and enriches the 
energy exchanged. Learning to give or to sacrifice appropriately is 
certainly as hard as learning to play baseball. Our first attempts are 
always very clumsy. People misinterpret and think we want some- 
thing in return. Or, like the mother who gives up her career or the 
father who works in a field he hates to support his family, we overdo 
it. As we become better at it, our giving and receiving take on the 
effortlessness of real pros playing catch. It all seems easy throwing 
and catching and letting go again. 

Our first sacrifices seem wrenched from us, as if we gave up pri- 
mary parts of ourselves. Later we learn that it never is appropriate 
to give up what is essential to us. The things we appropriately sac- 
rifice always should be the things we are ready to let go of. For most 
people, sacrifice is painful because they feel they have to control or 
manipulate everything if the ball is ever to come back to them. And, 
if they think that having thrown the ball to first base they have to 
get it back from first base, they may be sorely disappointed. But 
sooner or later from third base or left field the ball returns. In- 
deed, when they let go of notions about the particular form blessings 
must take, affirming instead that they will have what they need, they 
find themselves besieged with balls. 

The more we give in this kind of free way, the more we get 
because nature abhors a vacuum; it fills us up. That is, it does unless 
we have misunderstood sacrifice and see the state of emptying out 
as a static good rather than only a stage in the process. Then we get 
what we asked for emptiness, depletion. 

When we learn both to take and to give, we can move into a flow 
of giving and receiving that is love's essence reciprocity. In this 
way, the flow of energy does not go just one way, but both. I give 
to you and you to me and we both fully receive the energy. Christ 
said to "love your neighbor as yourself." Sacrifice, however, has been 
misinterpreted as loving your neighbor instead of yourself. 

For sacrifice or anything to be transformative, it must be let in. 
That is why Christ asked his disciples before the crucifixion to cel- 
ebrate communion "in remembrance of me." That also is why the 
Hebrews were enjoined to eat special Passover foods to celebrate the 
Exodus from Egypt. Eating is a powerful symbol for taking a gift 
in, for no gift truly is one until it is received. 



112 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Like giving, receiving takes some skill and discretion. Some peo- 
ple block their gifts even though they are besieged with them because 
they do not know that they have volition about receiving. They think 
just because something is offered to them, they must take it, so they 
feel safer in ignoring it. Sophisticated receiving raises the hard issue 
of choice, and of taking responsibility for having chosen to let in 
one thing and not another. Yes, I will marry you, but not you. Yes, 
I will work with you, but not you. 

Sometimes we are not able to receive gifts because we are afraid 
that in receiving them, we have obligated ourselves to pay the giver 
back. This kind of contractual giving may be a form of manipulation. 
We can use our intuition and turn down gifts with inappropriate 
strings attached, but we also should be aware that sometimes we 
simply project our fears onto the giver. 

Communication in relationships vastly improves when we make 
our expectations explicit to our loved ones. Because almost everyone 
gives what they would like to receive without realizing that the other 
person may want something very different, it is most useful to talk 
about those expectations. I once was in a relationship with a man 
who felt I did not really love him because I did not do little things 
for him like sew buttons on his shirt. When he told me this I got 
angry because I thought he was being a male chauvinist. Later, I 
realized that it was not so much that he wanted me to be conven- 
tionally female but that his idea of how you show love was doing 
little things like that for one another. Because my idea of how you 
show love is to say, "I love you" and share the secrets of one's heart, 
I felt unloved by him not recognizing that he showed his love for 
me by returning my overdue library books! To stay together we would 
have had to learn each other's giving vocabulary. 

Commitment 

For many, even the thought of making a major commitment to 
someone else raises major fears. For example, it might be nice to 
marry this person, but what if I find someone later whom I like 
better? Or what if he leaves me? What if he is unsuccessful? What 
if she turns out like her mother? What if she gets cancer and I have 
to take care of her? To commit is to risk the unknown, but even 



THE MARTYR / 113 

more than that, it is saying, as George implicitly tells Martha in 
Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Wool/?, "Yes, this will 
do." 4 It is sacrificing the idea of the perfect mate for a real, flawed 
human being. When we do so honestly and freely, out of clear pref- 
erence, the result can be transformative. If the commitment is re- 
ciprocal, it can make for a magic relationship of closeness and joy. 
If it is not, it still can be personally transformative because through 
it we learn the skill of loving fully and not holding back from that 
experience. And we learn we can survive the loss of what we love 
most. 

So, too, with life. Commitment to living this life means giving 
up rigid ideas about what the world should be and loving what it is. 
That, of course, does not mean that we do not work to make the 
world a better place or that we do not work on our relationships. It 
means that we can give up the pose of being disappointed idealists 
and let ourselves know what a blessing it is to be incarnated on this 
planet. We allow ourselves to let it all in. It also means giving up 
the notion of scarcity: that there is not enough to go around and that 
I am not enough, you are not enough, and the world is not enough. 
In accepting life, we can believe that there is plenty of love, goods, 
room to be happy. 

Ability to Give Away 

When we learn to give and receive appropriately and skillfully, 
the result is miraculous. I had the opportunity a couple of years ago 
to participate in a Native American Give- Away Ceremony that al- 
lowed me to see how the process of letting go of what you no longer 
need and of giving to others what they need can come together mag- 
ically and painlessly. We had been told before the ceremony to bring 
something that was very valuable to us (it need not have monetary 
value), something that we also were ready psychologically to give 
up and move beyond. We were to place this item on an altar. Then 
we all were to walk by and take whatever item beckoned to us. The 
miracle, we discovered as we discussed it later, was that everyone 
received just the right gift. What I learned from this experience was 
that miracles of synchronicity (meaningful coincidences) do occur 
regularly! 



114 / THE HERO WITHIN 

We all can have enough if we do not hoard. Our job is to appre- 
ciate thoroughly and treasure whatever we truly want that we already 
have, and at the same time to give up anything we no longer need. 
Our capacity to give away speaks to the universe of our willingness 
to receive. We do not have to hold on to things, protecting ourselves 
against a rainy day. If we freely give away, we also will freely receive 
just what we need. 

In the early 1970s, a scarcity of gasoline was threatened. Gas was 
perceived then as scarce even though there still was an adequate 
supply. People were stocking up out of fear. The fear that there would 
not be enough, ironically, was a self-fulfilling prophecy. When peo- 
ple believe there is enough and hence share freely, there is enough. 
What Franklin Roosevelt said in 1933 still is true: "The only thing 
we have to fear is fear itself." 

Our capacity to receive life fully is psychologically related to our 
willingness to give what it requires of us: to love as fully as we can, 
even though we know that doing so opens us up to pain and sorrow; 
to live our vocational purpose, to do our work, even though we risk 
failure, poverty, or receiving little or no appreciation; and ultimately 
to die, for that is the price we pay for having lived. 

Acceptance of Mortality 

The Wanderer, the Warrior, and the Magician learn increasingly 
sophisticated lessons about ways to control their lives and destinies. 
Ironically, it is only when this control is achieved that the hero can 
let it go and learn the final lesson of martyrdom the acceptance of 
mortality. Death is basic to nature. The leaves fall off the tree every 
autumn and make possible spring blossoms. All animal life, includ- 
ing humans, lives by eating other life forms. As much as we try to 
deny it, humans are part of the food chain. We eat plants and animals 
and excrete substances that fertilize the soil so that more plants can 
grow. Every life breath depends upon our symbiotic relationship with 
plants, with whom we exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. In death, 
our bodies decay and fertilize the soil. This is the wisdom that fer- 
tility religions teach us. 

This cosmic dance of birth and death, love and sacrifice, has little 
to do with ascetic practices that remove us from life. It speaks to us 



THE MARTYR / 115 

of Eros passion, What it requires of us is abandonment of our fears 
of loss (including our fear of death) into the ecstasy of life and living. 
Aphrodite, Eros, Dionysus require of us our lives, but they offer 
earthly pleasure as well as divine, sexual as well as spiritual, and 
temporal as well as timeless. In this fertility drama, all our loves, 
even our lusts, are part of the process of cosmic transformation and 
rebirth. The gods love us not despite our mortality but, passionately, 
because of it. 

Our lives are our contribution to the universe. We can give this 
gift freely and lovingly, or we can hold back as if it were possible 
by refusing life to avoid death. But no one can. How much worse 
to die, never having lived! The final lesson of the Martyr is to choose 
to give the gift of one's life for the giving's sake, knowing that life 
itself is its own reward and remembering that all the little deaths, 
the losses, in our lives always have brought with them transformation 
and new life, that actual deaths are not final but merely a more 
dramatic passage through into the unknown. 

Until we are willing to give our lives to life, we always will be 
possessed by martyrdom.We may reject sacrifice philosophically, but 
we will find that inevitably we martyr ourselves to our wandering, 
to our warrioring, and even to our magic-making. The more freely 
and fearlessly we give, the less it feels like sacrifice and the more 
it feels simply like an expression of who we are. That is how we 
learn that, ultimately, we all are one and that what binds us together 
is love. 



Chapter 6 

THE MAGICIAN 

She was the single artificer of the world 

In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea, 

Whatever self it had, became the self 

That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we, 

As we beheld her striding there alone, 

Knew that there never was a world for her 

Except the one she sang and, singing, made. 

WALLACE STEVENS, "The Idea of Order at Key West" 



JZ/very culture has a story about creation. A goddess lays 
the cosmic egg, or a god speaks the magic words, creating light. 
The "archetype of the Magician teaches us about creation, about our 
capacity to bring into being what never was there before, about claim- 
ing our role as cocreators of the universe. This role, however, does 
not make us special or unique, since we share it not only with the 
gods, but also with the lowliest human, with plants, animals, moun- 
tains, stars with everything and everyone. Yet however much our 
cocreation is interdependent with all these other cosmic actors, ul- 
timately we do create our world and we are, therefore, responsible 
for our own lives. 

When we enter the terrain of the Magician in our journey, after 
we have begun to take responsibility for our own lives and for our 
impact on the world, we discover that the Magician is not a shaman, 
witch, or wizard who sings a sacred song or concocts a sacred brew, 
whereupon a person is healed or killed, the war won or lost. That 
is a Magician from the Orphan's point of view. The Magician is not 
other, we discover, but ourselves. At this point, heroes come to be- 
lieve that the universe is not a static thing. It is in the process of 
being created all the time. All of us are involved in that creation, 
and thus all of us are Magicians. 

We cannot not be Magicians. We cannot live without ordering and 



THE MAGICIAN / 117 

arranging life. Yet, until we relinquish the Orphan's notion of the 
Magician as someone who does magic for you or someone who is 
evil and likely to victimize you, we cannot take responsibility for 
creating our lives. Until we grapple with our identity and vocation 
issues, there is always the danger that we will use our power de- 
structively. And until we resolve our warrioring issues, we run the 
risk of using the power of the Magician to demonstrate our superi- 
ority or to try to control other people. The seductive idea that we 
can solve our problems by magic instead of taking our journeys has 
given the New Age movement (which has articulated widely the Ma- 
gician's way of seeing the world) a bad name with some people 
mainly because of a few folks associated with it who latch on to 
some of the Magician's concepts without understanding them fully. 
For instance, they- misuse the notion of our responsibility for our 
lives by equating responsibility and blame, and then blame others 
for their problems. Some are developmentally at the Orphan stage, 
but seize on Magician concepts, hoping to escape, instead of to fur- 
ther, their journeys. 

If we have not resolved our Martyr issues fully, it will be hard to 
experience fully the Magician's power, because doing so requires us 
to give our lives fearlessly to the universe, trusting that our gifts are 
the right ones, that we are what is needed by others, by the universe, 
and by ourselves. If we do not know this, we always will be mucking 
up the works by giving the wrong gifts, based not upon who we are 
but on some idea of who we should be. 

As Orphans, Wanderers, Martyrs, and Warriors, we find our iden- 
tities in opposition to a world imaged as hostile and dangerous. As 
Magicians, we claim the universe as home, a friendly, inviting place 
to be, and in doing so, we reclaim innocence. Our relationship with 
life, we learn, is like that with a potential lover. We move toward 
the relationship walking on the edge of our fear Will I be safe? 
Will I be loved? Am I making a mistake? Is this the right one? 
until little by little we discover that it is safe to trust and to let down 
our guard, to do the dance of life together. 

The Magician learns that we are not life's victims; we are part of 
the unfolding of God. The resolution of the Warrior/Martyr duality, 
according to which we either take from life or give to it, is the 
understanding that each of us contributes to the unfolding of God, 



118 / THE HERO WITHIN 

not by holding back our natures to live up to some ideal of perfection, 
but by allowing ourselves to be who we are, to love who and what 
we love, and to do the work that brings pleasure to our hearts and 
minds. 

This means, however, giving up the illusion that we can force life 
to fit our own scripts, that we can shape up other people to match 
our idea of the perfect mate or friend or employee, or even that we 
can make ourselves fit our own images of what we should be. For 
Magicians and for Wanderers, life is an adventure of discovery. But 
Magicians take responsibility for the world they make, even inad- 
vertently, blindly, by simply living their lives. 

They are tough on themselves, but theirs is not the toughness of 
the Warrior. Warriors learn to force themselves to do what they are 
afraid of doing and they struggle against great odds. Magicians dis- 
cover that, at a deeper level, force does not work, that if they are 
not flowing with the universe, but rather are struggling against it, no 
amount of perseverance, skill, courage, or wit will help them get 
what they want. They see that a new kind of discipline is required 
here, the clarity and strength of will to act always in accordance with 
their deepest, wisest self. 

The discipline required to stay in touch with themselves at that 
level is certainly no less than that required by Warriors. Yet, this 
discipline operates in a context of humility and a certain positive 
fatalism. No matter what we want, if it is not to be, it will not be. 
Magicians know that they are not the center of the universe; yet that 
knowledge does not distress them. They know they are important, 
that their individual choices and acts accumulate to codesign the uni- 
verse, and like the Martyr, they know that it is only in giving their 
unique gift to the universe that true happiness and satisfaction can 
be found. 

While Warriors learn the rules of cause and effect, Magicians learn 
those of magic. Magic works acausally. We understand when the 
physician prescribes medicine to fight an infection, because it is a 
clear example of cause and effect and also because we know and 
believe in the archetypal slaying-the-dragon plot. But we do not nec- 
essarily have a conceptual framework to understand so readily the 
Magician who, like Christ, simply says "take up your bed and walk." 
The Martyr, the Wanderer, and the Warrior often are suspicious of 



THE MAGICIAN / 119 

such healings, and perhaps that is why spiritual or faith healing often 
has been avoided and even disdained by respectable people (except, 
of course, by great saints, who usually are appreciated only after 
they are safely dead). 

Magic is dangerous at certain levels of consciousness because it 
panders to the Orphan's desire for a quick fix and for rescue from 
without. The Martyr, the Wanderer, and the Warrior have different 
ways of learning that they must do something to be healed. They 
must suffer, search, and work hard, respectively. 

But the Magician understands grace not as an unusual occur- 
rence, but simply as one kind of energy available to us. There are 
times when our energies flag, when our skills fail (as with Tom 
Brown on his fast), or when the normal, everyday ways of solving 
problems are of no avail. Doing so requires the ability to stay in 
balance with the ultimate energy source of the universe. Religious 
people might call this living in harmony with God. More secular- 
minded people merely would say they learned to get rid of their 
internal static so they could be receptive to and tap into energy out- 
side themselves. There are many names for such energies. In the 
movie Star Wars, it is called The Force. Some people do not think 
about it as anything magic or mystical, but do know those moments 
when they feel as if they are flowing with the universe and everything 
rather magically is going right. 

Magicians strive, then, to live in harmony with the supernatural 
and natural worlds, and doing so requires wholeness and balance 
within. Magicians must have apprenticed not only with the Magician 
archetype, but also with all the others discussed in this book. Most 
critical is a resolution of the Orphan dilemma, which allows Magi- 
cians to trust in and submit to a power greater than themselves, 
saying, u Thy will be done." Of course, Magicians understand this 
at a level different from that of Orphans. Orphans assume that doing 
God's will means giving up their own, which is defined as being 
self-centered and ignorant and in opposition to God's plan. When 
we achieve a deeper level of self-knowledge by having resolved many 
Wanderer issues, we are less dualistic. Because we are part of God, 
our will and our good at the deepest level are part of the unfolding 
of God. 

While Magicians have a kind of humility in understanding that we 



120 / THE HERO WITHIN 

are only a small part of the great ongoing activity of creation, claim- 
ing cocreation with God is an act of great self-assertion. Because 
none of us is perfect, we run the risk that instead of improving our 
lives, we inadvertently will bring more pain and suffering into them 
and into the lives of others. Taking responsibility for cocreation of 
the universe requires that we also take responsibility for the appar- 
ently undesired outcomes. Even God, according to Genesis, created 
Satan in the process of making the universe, and subsequently sent 
his son to mitigate the results. Such apparent mistakes are an in- 
evitable part of creation. Although we may posit that the gods know 
what they are doing in the process of creation, often we do not, and 
so may call forth monsters, which we finally recognize as our 
Shadow. 



Naming the Shadow 

As we have seen, the movement from Orphan and Martyr to the 
Wanderer requires heroes to stop blaming themselves for their prob- 
lems and to see the Shadow as outside themselves. Paradoxically, 
the movement from Warrior to Magician requires heroes to acknowl- 
edge their responsibility for the Shadow to see that it is, indeed, 
part of themselves. However, this recognition does not require blame 
or require them to slay or repress that part of themselves. 

Magicians move beyond dualistic, static notions of good and bad 
to seeing life as a process. The part of ourselves that we have re- 
pressed and not allowed to flourish and grow is stunted and manifests 
itself as negativity or even evil. People who are arrested in the be- 
ginning Orphan stage, for instance, may become habitual criminals 
or victims because their positive qualities cannot find ways to de- 
velop. Or, in the case of the Warrior or Martyr, some qualities are 
allowed to flourish at the expense of others considered weak or sel- 
fish, and the result may be one-sided, unbalanced personalities. 

These undeveloped qualities can possess us in monstrous form. 
For instance, our culture is just moving out of puritanism to deal 
with the Shadow of sexuality. Hence, it manifests itself often in 
perverse yet extremely powerful forms. Sex is used in advertising to 
sell everything from cars to power tools, either by subliminal means 
or by scantily clothed women standing by the object being sold. Such 



THE MAGICIAN / 121 

juxtaposition makes no logical sense unless we understand that we 
are quite simply possessed by our repressed sexuality. And often our 
sexuality emerges in twisted and perverse ways. In contemporary 
movies (and in contemporary life) sexuality often is accompanied by 
violence. Rape, violent seduction, molestation of children, pornog- 
raphy, the rise of sado-masochism all speak to the reality of our 
culture's Shadow possession, as does the more subtle but even more 
pervasive image of sexual relationships in which one (or both) of 
the parties is objectified. 1 

People in a Warrior mind-set assume that the answer to this di- 
lemma is to slay the dragon to get rid of the sexuality within and 
without, to ban it. What happens then, however, is more repression, 
and the dragons get bigger and the possession more pronounced. 
When the Warrior/Martyr resolution is achieved, we learn to face the 
dragon and to recognize that it is dangerous to ourselves and oth- 
ers but then to transform that monster by affirming it and acknowl- 
edging it as our own. 

Violence is caused in large part by the repression of assertiveness. 
We learn to be nice, to give in, that we do not have a right to ask 
for what we want. Many of us are not taught skills for recognizing 
and asserting our needs. Consequently, emotions build up, like an 
internal time bomb. The result is an explosion anger and perhaps 
emotional or even physical violence inflicted on ourselves or another 
person. Paradoxically, the antidote to violence is not self-control and 
repression, but self-knowledge and skills of self-expression and 
assertion. 

Magicians understand the courage and audacity involved in as- 
serting themselves and their will on the universe when they them- 
selves are not yet whole. To do so means letting loose their demons 
upon the world. Actually, because we all are cocreators whether we 
want to be or not, we run this risk all the time anyway. However, 
Magicians take responsibility for this process and basically trust it. 
If dragons are but their Shadows, their unnamed, unlived, unloved 
parts, then the only way to transform them is to act, and by acting 
bring them into the light of day. 

Yet some discretion is required in the scope of their action to avoid 
calling forth demons too great for them to handle. In A Wizard of 
Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin's Sparrowhawk believes, in his youthful 



122 / THE HERO WITHIN 

arrogance, that he is powerful enough to call forth the dead. He 
succeeds, but in doing so lets loose a monster from the underworld 
powerful enough to destroy the world. Youthful and inexperienced 
though he is, Sparrowhawk understands that it is his responsibility 
to track down this demon and to confront and disarm it. He spends 
years on this lonely journey. When he finally tracks him down and 
faces him, he understands that the way to gain power over him is to 
speak the demon's real name. Facing him, he calls him Ged (Spar- 
rowhawk' s real name), and in acknowledging his Shadow as a 
Shadow, the two parts of himself are unified and the threat is no 
more. 

Le Guin writes, "Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the 
shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: 
a man who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be used or possessed 
by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is lived 
for life's sake and never in the service of ruin, or pain, or hatred, 
or the dark." After this triumph, Sparrowhawk sings a sacred song 
that celebrates paradox: "Only in silence the word, only in dark the 
light, only in dying life: bright the hawk's flight as an empty sky." 2 

The Magician comes to understand the precious balance in the 
universe and how individuals help to either foster that balance or 
disturb it by the choices they make about their lives. In The Farthest 
Shore, the third in Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, Sparrowhawk rights 
the balance again. Cob, a great mage gone evil, has decided to use 
his power to conquer death and give people immortality. The result, 
of course, is that people have become possessed by Death's Shadow. 
Everywhere Sparrowhawk finds the walking dead: alienated, listless, 
many addicted to drugs, no one taking pride in their work or loving 
one another. 

He explains that what has caused the problem is that people desire 
"power over life," which he calls "greed." The only power worth 
having, he notes, is not "power over," but "power to" accept life, 
to allow it in. The result of the desire to control life and death in 
order to attain immortality creates a void within. Sparrowhawk ex- 
plains to Cob that "Not all the songs of earth, not all the stars of 
heaven could fill your emptiness," for Cob, in going for "power 
over," has lost himself and his true name. 3 Magicians, then, allow 
life in themselves and in others. 



THE MAGICIAN / 123 

Magicians also are namers. As a rule, psychological and cultural 
balance and stability are maintained by keeping much of reality out 
of our field of consciousness. When an individual or society is ready 
to grow, the Magician's task is to destroy unhealthy stasis by allow- 
ing in previously repressed or denied elements. Doing so is anar- 
chistic and creates chaos. Culturally, the 1960s was such a time. Our 
major cultural theorists all upset the cultural applecart in such diverse 
areas as music, sexuality, race relations, and even America's very 
image as a peace-loving, just society. Sometimes Magicians respond 
to the chaos other people have created but for which they will not, 
or cannot, take responsibility. Magicians then restore the balance of 
the psyche or the society by naming the new reality and domesti- 
cating or transforming it. They also encourage the ongoing evolution 
of the universe by helping others find their true names (i.e., their 
identities), for that is how the universe evolves by our all becoming 
increasingly more ourselves and more willing to take responsibility 
for the world we are creating together. This is why, in the seventies, 
our major thinkers focused on issues of consciousness and personal 
growth as ways of integrating new material into our psyches. (The 
reappearance of conventionality in the eighties may be needed to 
reassert cultural balance and to provide a time for individuals to 
assimilate the cultural changes of the sixties and changes in con- 
sciousness experienced in the seventies.) 

Many people, especially if they are in or moving into the Warrior 
stage, are afraid of honest naming, whether it is naming of denied 
cultural realities or our own repressed and denied qualities. For the 
Warrior, the naming of the dragon as the villain is a prelude to attack. 
To be honest is to make oneself vulnerable in the pecking order. 
Especially because people usually are trying to seem more than they 
are so they may rise up the hierarchy, honesty is very threatening. 
It means having one's failings exposed. But in a Magician's hands 
honesty can be transforming. 

In Philip Ressner's wonderful children's book Jerome the Frog, 
a playful witch tells Jerome she has turned him into a prince. 4 He 
still looks like a frog, but townspeople begin sending him on quests 
just in case he really is a prince. He has several successes, so finally 
they send him to slay the dragon, who is always breathing fire and 
destroying villages. Jerome finds the dragon and draws his sword, 



124 / THE HERO WITHIN 

but the dragon asks why. It is, after all, his nature to breathe fire 
and burn villages. Jerome ponders this and they discuss things awhile 
and finally come up with a solution agreeable to all. The dragon will 
bum the town garbage every Tuesday and Thursday, and lie around 
and tell lies the rest of the week. Jerome does not try to convert the 
dragon or convince him to be "good," but instead helps him to be 
more fruitfully who he is, since dragons not only love to breathe fire 
and burn things up but also like to be admired and appreciated. 

Jerome's kind of victimless, villainless problem solving is predi- 
cated on the assumption that none of us is wrong or bad. We may, 
however, be repressing who we are and acting out of our Shadow, 
or we simply may lack skills to assert ourselves in a socially re- 
sponsible manner. When either of these is true, we may cause dif- 
ficulty for ourselves and others. There is nothing inherently wrong 
with dragons when their true natures are discovered, developed, and 
usefully channeled! 

It is not just honesty, then, that is important, but the energy that 
surrounds it. If honesty comes out of a desire to cut down, it can 
be very destructive. However, enveloped in love, it has quite a dif- 
ferent effect. The hero's goal is not to slay, but to name the dragon 
to reinstate community through communication. 

Madeleine L'Engle's children's story The Wind in the Door illus- 
trates this point nicely. The hero of the story is Meg, a young ad- 
olescent daughter of a feminist family: Both her parents are prize- 
winning physicists. The problem is that her beloved younger brother, 
Charles Wallace, is dying. Her mother has discovered that something 
has gone wrong with his farandolae. Inside every human cell is an 
organism with its own RNA and DNA called a mitochondria, without 
which we could not process oxygen. Inside the mitochondria, Meg's 
mother posits, is a farandolae that has the same relationship to it as 
the mitochondria has to us. 

The vision of interdependence of all life runs throughout the novel. 
Meg is visited by people from outer space and by a cherub, who 
explains that size makes no difference. Everything in the universe is 
just as critical as everything else, and everything is interconnected. 
They also explain that she can save Charles Wallace, because she is 
a Namer. A Namer, it turns out, is someone who names things, who 



THE MAGICIAN / 125 

helps them know who they are. They explain that Meg's friend Cal- 
vin is a Namer to her because she feels more like herself when she 
is with him than at any other time. 

The source of the problem is the Echthroi, the "Unnamers," who 
are responsible for black holes in the universe, alienation, despair, 
crime, because they try to keep people, stars, trees, etc., from claim- 
ing their real identities and, therefore, from making their contribution 
to the universe. After practicing naming on a few people, Meg goes 
down into the mitochondria and talks with the farandolae. It turns 
out that the Echthroi have been there and convinced the farandolae 
that they need not take their journeys, that they are the greatest thing 
that exists. When the farandolae take their journeys, they sing with 
the stars. If they do not, the whole organism they are a part of dies. 

Meg succeeds in naming the farandolae but then realizes she must 
face the Echthroi themselves to free herself and her friends. When 
she does so, she does not try to kill them as a Warrior might. Instead, 
she begins a litany of naming, ending with: 

I hold you! I love you, I name you. I name you, Echthroi. You are not 
nothing. You are. ... I fill you with Naming. Be! ... Echthroi. You are 
named! My arms surround you. You are no longer nothing. You are. You 
are filled, You are me. You are Meg. 5 

In this view of the world, the job of heroes is to enlighten the 
world by loving it starting with themselves. Their task is not to 
slay the dragon within or without but to affirm the deepest level 
of truth about it: that is, that we are all one. Such dragons are only 
our Shadows, our unnamed, unloved parts. 

There is an inevitable conflict between the Magician's evolving 
notion of the universe and the Warrior's perfectionism. We live in 
a culture that does not trust process and is intolerant of diversity. 
Therefore we all are expected to be perfect, and beyond that, to be 
perfect in similar if not the same ways to one another. We are 
supposed to "live up" to standards of virtue, achievement, intelli- 
gence, and physical attractiveness. If we do not, then we are expected 
to repent, work harder, study, diet, exercise, and wear better clothes 
until we fit the prevailing image of an ideal person. Thus, our unique 
qualities are likely to be defined as "the problem" that we need to 



126 / THE HERO WITHIN 

solve to be OK. In this case, the Magician's role is to name and 
acknowledge those differences as sources of our individual and col- 
lective strength. 

One of the best examples of a hero who comes to understand this 
is Sissy Hankshaw of Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, 
Sissy was born with oversized thumbs. Virtually everyone sees her 
as handicapped, but she tends to resist this way of looking at things. 
As a young teenager, however, she stands before the mirror and re- 
alizes that she is beautiful. If she were to have plastic surgery to 
reduce the size of her thumbs, she could lead a "normal life." As 
she contemplates this alternative, her thumbs begin to twitch and 
urge her to "live life at some other level ... if she dared." 6 Instead 
of having plastic surgery, Sissy goes on to become the greatest hitch- 
hiker in the entire world. She is so good, she can call cars on the 
other side of a four-lane highway to pick her up. In fact, she takes 
hitchhiking to the level of a Zen experience. 

Like everyone else, however, Sissy has her moments of self-doubt, 
and during one she marries and gives up "her career." When she 
frees her husband's pet bird, however, he takes her to a psychiatric 
clinic. One of the psychiatrists (the namesake of the author) under- 
stands her. He explains to Dr. Goldman, a Freudian psychologist, 
his enthusiasm for Sissy by telling him how impressive it is that she 
has become the best hitchhiker in the world. She truly has found the 
life she was meant for. Dr. Goldman, missing the point entirely, asks 
if he means she has transcended her affliction. Dr. Robbins says no. 
He explains that transcendence smacks of hierarchy, the class system, 
of a way of thinking that cannot see Sissy's innate value. He 
continues: 

The trick is not to transcend but to transform them. Not to degrade them 
or deny them and that's what transcendence amounts to but to reveal 
them more fully, to heighten their reality, to search for their latent signifi- 
cance. I fail to detect a single healthy impulse in the cowardly attempt to 
transcend the physical world. On the other hand, to transform a physical 
entity by changing the climate around it through the manner in which one 
regards it is a marvelous undertaking, creative and courageous. 7 

Sissy so changes Dr. Robbins' life that he "calls in well" and never 
returns to the clinic. 



THE MAGICIAN / 127 

In this view, all people are heroic, and all are essential to human 
evolution. Our task is merely to affirm completely who we are. We 
do not have to spend all or even any of our time trying to prove we 
are OK. That is why the u black is beautiful" campaign is so critical 
to black Americans. That is why affirming femaleness is so trans- 
formative for women. And that is why good mental, emotional, and 
physical health for everyone requires learning to love oneself fully 
and unconditionally. 

The Rainmaker 

Instead of struggling against powerlessness, loneliness, fear, or 
pain, the Magician accepts them as part of the fabric of life and 
hence opens up to discovering the lessons they bring us. The image 
of God the Creator speaking into the void to create life is a pro- 
foundly active image of creation, which at least seems to imply that 
the act of creation is totally under conscious control. The image of 
the Goddess giving birth often is closer to what creativity is like for 
many people. When the Goddess creates something out of nothing, 
her creation comes out of her body, not her mind. When we create 
in this way, we may labor long to give birth to something, not being 
quite sure what we are birthing. The creation may seem to us not 
so much something we chose as something that has chosen us, and 
we may fear that the baby will be born dead or deformed. There are 
few certainties about it. And, once the process is under way, it takes 
on a life of its own. We stop it only at risk to our own life. 

At the basis of life is eros, passion, sexual energy. Creation comes 
from opening up to that energy and allowing the natural process of 
spontaneous creation to occur. To do that, we need to be coura- 
geously open. Sometimes, though, we get hit with genuine tragedies. 
To continue the metaphor, the new birth begins not with love, but 
with events that feel more like rape. While the pain and suffering 
involved is not invited or deserved it simply may be the price we 
all pay for living in a world still at a very primitive level of devel- 
opment even such catastrophies can be used by the psyche for 
growth, and hence eventually to bring us treasures if we allow the 
resulting growth to take place. 

May Sarton's Joanna in Joanna and Ulysses comes to understand 



128 / THE HERO WITHIN 

this when she chooses to celebrate her thirtieth birthday by going off 
by herself for the first time in her life. Although she always has 
wanted to be an artist, she is a clerk, and she leaves for the island 
of Santorini from Athens in the hope that she will be able to paint. 
Her goal is to really see objects as they are, so that she can paint 
them. The surprise to her is that in doing so she breaks through her 
denial systems and sees more than she is conscious of asking to see. 
On Santorini, she makes friends with a small boy who asks her why 
she never married, and in answering she tells a story she never has 
told anyone. Her mother had been a resistance fighter. Captured by 
the Fascists, the mother was made to watch while guards stuck cig- 
arettes into her son's ears until he was made deaf. All the time the 
son shouted, "Mother, don't talk." Then they tortured her until she 
died, but she never talked. 8 

The son was released and told the family the story. Joanna put off 
her hopes of becoming an artist and took care of them all. Her father 
sat alone much of the time in a darkened room, and she took a dull 
job. They all went through life numbed by the tragedy and putting 
one foot forward at a time. At thirty, arriving on Santorini, the first 
thing she sees is a donkey full of sores, piled high with baggage and 
being beaten. This scene is the last straw for her. She cannot stand 
any more inhumanity, and she runs up screaming for the donkey's 
owners to stop, but they explain they are poor people and do not 
have the luxury of coddling animals. They just want the donkey to 
get to the top of the hill before he dies. Finally, in exasperation she 
buys the donkey at a ridiculously inflated price and begins her va- 
cation, leading a dying donkey, whom she christens Ulysses. 

Ulysses represents to Joanna the part of herself that is an artist, 
the part that has been starved, neglected, and mistreated. She calls 
him Ulysses because she recognizes her potential for heroism, but 
she also chuckles that her Shadow would take the form of such an 
ignoble beast, especially since she sees her aspirations as so ridic- 
ulous that she is afraid to speak of them. 

As she begins to paint, she nurses Ulysses back to health. When 
she tells the young boy her story, she expects him to be shocked or 
grieved, but instead he reacts with exultation, saying, "I am so proud 
of your mother. I am so proud of your brother." His response sur- 
prises her into seeing things differently, into remembering how pas- 



THE MAGICIAN / 129 

sionate her mother was, how she loved flowers, and how she loved 
freedom enough to die for it. Actually telling the story and hearing 
the boy's liberating response makes her feel as if "she were being 
brought out at last from a dank, dark cell where all she could think 
of was suffering, the endless chain of suffering." 

Later, in Athens, when Ulysses, whom she has hidden in the base- 
ment, chews through the rope and surprises her and her father up- 
stairs, she and her father talk honestly for the first time since her 
mother's death. She shows him her paintings; they talk about her 
mother, and she exclaims: "If you shut out pain, you shut out ev- 
erything, Papa! . . . Don't you see, how everything stopped my 
painting became trivial, my life too. I could not remember Mother 
as she was. We shut her out ... like shutting out life itself!" 

To deny the pain was to hold on to it. Only by going through it, 
allowing it, feeling it, speaking aloud about it, could she learn from 
it and go on to feel joy and power in a new way. The hero who can 
do this is rewarded with much more life than the stoic macho hero 
who rides off into the sunset or, more classically, retreats into the 
"power over" position of king and never knows the intensity of real 
human vulnerability and love. 

Equally important to Joanna's honoring and affirming both the pain 
and the joy is her commitment to her art and what that art means to 
her. It truly means to learn to see the real, for how can the Magician 
help along the balance of the world if she is not willing to see what 
that balance is, or (to use Madeleine L'Engle's metaphor) to hear 
the song of the stars? Besides the fact that repression takes away our 
lives, it also traps us into our illusions so we cannot know what is 
real. Joanna gives the gifts of the artist both when she shows her 
father her paintings and when she explains to him what she has 
learned. By expressing her truth, she changes not only her own real- 
ity, but his. She is a Magician, indeed. 

Magicians must be part artist in their commitment to seeing, hear- 
ing, and in every way knowing the real; they also must be part fool. 
In ancient times, the king always was complemented by the fool, 
who not only joked around and kept the king honest by pointing out 
his foibles, but even more important, kept a kind of cosmic balance 
in the kingdom. As William Willeford wrote in The Fool and His 
Sceptor: 



130 / THE HERO WITHIN 

The babbling fool is one prototype of our relationship to numinous pow- 
ers. . . . The fool stands beside the king, in a sense reflecting him but also 
suggesting a long-lost element of the king that, we may imagine, had to be 
sacrificed at the founding of the kingdom, an element without which neither 
the kingdom nor the king is complete. 8 



The transformation from Warrior/King to Magician is accompanied 
by a return to innocence, embodied in the image of the fool. When 
we embark upon the journey, we leave innocent simplicity behind 
to gain the skills required by a tough world. The innocent, trusting 
self we left behind seems foolish and is to be avoided, but in some 
ways it is always with us whether we listen to it or not. The more 
rationalistic we are, of course, the more foolish and babbling fools 
will seem to us. Yet it is the reappearance of the Innocent that often 
makes it possible for us to act like Magicians when rationality sees 
no way out of a dilemma. 

In Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Orr, who is seen by everyone as a 
grotesque, giggling fool, shakes Yossarian out of his paralysis when 
Yossarian hears that Orr has gone AWOL and has rowed to Sweden. 
Even though the claim that Orr has done so is absurd, Yossarian 
determines on its basis to take a leap of faith and refuse to fly any 
more bombing missions. 10 

The Magician's view of the world is quite simply absurd from any 
conventional, linear, cause-and-effect way of thinking; to the ordinary 
mind, Magicians seem to be fools. And so they are, in the most 
classic sense, for it is the wise fool who, as Willeford argues, is our 
link to numinous powers. Claiming such magical thinking for one- 
self, then, often is accompanied by a laugh and a profound sense of 
lightening up. 

At this point the Magician learns that life need not be so hard. 
For one thing, when people have integrated most of their Shadows, 
they spend less energy repressing and denying their internal reality. 
For another, they spend less time fighting external battles because 
they don't so often project their Shadows onto others. 

They are like Claremont De Castillejo's rainmaker in Knowing 
Woman. When a village in India experienced a drought, they would 
send for the rainmaker. Rainmakers do not do anything to make the 
rain happen; they just come to the village and stay there and the 



THE MAGICIAN / 131 

rain comes. They do not make the rain come, they allow it or, more 
exactly, their inner atmosphere of allowing and affirming what is 
creates a climate in which what needs to be happens. Perhaps you 
have known people like that. It is not that they make the sun shine, 
the rain fall, or people work harder in their office, but when they 
are there, things work right and apparently effortlessly. 11 

Being a rainmaker requires great faith. Sometimes after great ef- 
fort, Magicians need to be reminded that they are not struggling alone 
to right the balance of the universe. For instance, Morgaine, the hero 
of Marion Zimmer Bradley 's The Mists of Avalon, gives her whole 
life to trying to preserve goddess worship in England during the time 
of King Arthur and the Round Table, as a growing Christian influence 
undermines the position of women and declares the masculine aspect 
of God to be the only true divinity. 

Near the end of her life, she feels that both she and the Goddess 
have been betrayed by King Arthur, and fears they have lost the 
battle with history. She visits a convent in England near the historical 
Avalon (where she had trained as a priestess) and witnesses young 
girls worshiping in a chapel to St. Bridget. She realizes that Bridget 
is not really a Christian saint at all; the statue there is of the "Goddess 
as she is worshipped in Ireland." Morgaine sees that "even if they 
think otherwise, these women know the power of the immortal. Exile 
her as they may, she will prevail. The Goddess will never withdraw 
herself from mankind." Morgaine asks the Goddess for forgiveness 
for her doubt and bitterness, saying, "I thought I must do what 1 
now see you can do for yourself." She understands that not every- 
thing had been in her hands, so she can let up on herself: "I did the 
Mother's work in Avalon until at last those who came after us might 
bring her into this world. I did not fail. I did what she had given 
me to do. It was not she but I in my pride who thought I should 
have done more." 12 

Morgaine recognizes that she had been trapped in the Warrior's 
grandiosity. She did not need to do it all, only her small part. In 
doing that, she was not all-important, but a cocreator with the God- 
dess of her own destiny and the world's. 

Magicians gain great faith in themselves, in God, in the universe. 
That faith makes it possible sometimes simply to wait for clarity 
when bad things appear to be happening. 



132 / THE HERO WITHIN 

"Ask and Ye Shall Receive" 

In Collections, Shirley Luthman ponders the question of what she 
would do if she discovered she had a brain tumor. She would be 
quite shaken up, obviously. Nonetheless, while allowing those feel- 
ings, she maintains that she would not do anything until she could 
focus inward and get clear enough to understand what was going on. 
Had her being decided that it was time to die? Or, if not, what was 
the tumor trying to tell her? Only when she was clear about where 
she was going would she decide what to do. That might mean de- 
ciding it was time to die. It might mean finding some alternative 
treatment. 13 

Fundamental to her approach is a strong belief that at some level 
of our beings, we choose what happens to us which includes choos- 
ing our illnesses and our own deaths. We make these choices, she 
says, not out of masochism, but because they will teach us what we 
need to learn. It is, therefore, important to honor everything that 
happens to us as a way of honoring our choices as the teachers of 
needed lessons. 

Now, the Orphan cannot hear this because for her, choice means 
blame: If I choose to be a battered woman, that means I am to blame 
for my own suffering. But to the Magician blame is irrelevant, and 
the search for a culprit is a useless diversion. The useful questions 
are not "who is to blame?" but "what can I learn from this experi- 
ence?" and "given the wisdom I have gained from it, what do I want 
to choose now?" 

Looking back from the vantage point of the Magician, a woman 
may recognize that she had long had a batterer in her own head, 
telling her she was too fat, too selfish, too pushy. By getting into a 
situation in which she is physically or emotionally battered by some- 
one else, she finally comes to the point where she says, "Enough: I 
may be bad, but I am not bad enough to deserve this kind of treat- 
ment." So she finds help, gets out of the relationship, and eventually 
works on her self-esteem to the point where she does not spend so 
much of her time at the mercy of her internal batterer. Although the 
external situation was painful, it produced a crisis that forced on her 
the opportunity to opt for growth, change, and eventually less pain 



THE MAGICIAN / 133 

in her life. In that way, attracting a battering relationship in the long 
run brought her health. 

In an autobiographical chapter, "My Own Journey New Life," 
in Energy and Personal Power, Luthman tells about her pain when 
she lost her husband. They had had a deep and fulfilling relationship, 
and when he died she was grief stricken. In spite of everything else 
she believed about life and how we choose what happens to us, she 
felt herself to be a victim. Later, she confronts her own belief that 
"on a deep level of my consciousness I may have known I was mar- 
rying a man who was going to die and leave me, even though I had 
no cognitive awareness of such a possibility." Then she opens up to 
ask herself why she would do that; she gets two answers: 

I reached a depth with my husband on an energy-consciousness level in 
which I felt one with him without losing my own identity and sense of 
self. ... If our relationship had continued to expand in that depth and in- 
tensity, I would have attached my ability to have such an experience to him 
and to that relationship instead of to me. What I have experienced since 
then has taught me that I create the form into which someone comes along 
who fits me on the level I am capable of experiencing. My ability to be 
alive, intense, and to relate deeply is connected to me and not dependent 
on a particular person or place, on anything external to me. 14 

Magic is based upon a synchronicity of the macro- and micro- 
world. Synchronicity is a word coined by Carl Jung that means 
"meaningful coincidences" or acausal connections. 15 As the Warrior 
learns the lessons of causality, the Magician learns about synchron- 
icity. You know those times when you go to a bookstore and just 
the book you needed (but had never heard of) practically falls into 
your hand? Or when you run into just the person you need, seemingly 
coincidentally? Actually, many truly miraculous "coincidences" have 
happened in my life, but I will share here a very ordinary, everyday 
example of a seemingly accidental fortuitous event. 

While contemplating leaving a relationship, I took a walk early in 
the morning and was reminding myself of something I had told oth- 
ers, but often did not folly believe myself. That is, like money, 
wealth, and time, love is not scarce. If we open up to allow life, 
we can open up to an abundance of health, prosperity, time, and 
love. As I walked along thinking that but really feeling quite lonely 



134 / THE HERO WITHIN 

and fearful that I always would be alone, a man walked up and 
chatted with me for about a minute and then left. In that instant I 
realized that, while I certainly did not want that particular man to 
stick around, his affable presence had given me exactly what I needed 
in that moment. In doing so, it had made real to me what my need 
was telling me but the rest of me was resisting: I would always have 
the relationship I needed. I would not need to hold on to an inap- 
propriate one out of fear of being alone. 

Now, if no one had ever suggested to me that it is perfectly rea- 
sonable to expect the universe to provide what we need (and often 
even what we want), he might have come up and chatted pleasantly, 
and I would not have noticed the gift. If I were in my Orphan space, 
I might see his quick departure as an omen that everyone always 
would leave rne. If I were feeling like a Martyr, I might feel sorry 
for myself, that even when I was on a walk, trying to sort out major 
issues in my life, someone always wanted something from me. In 
my Warrior mode, I might even get affronted that a strange man had 
the audacity to accost me on the path! We get little gifts all the time, 
but we receive them differently. 

In some ways, the Orphan, the Martyr, and the Warrior live in 
similar universes because each believes in scarcity. In contrast, the 
Magician experiences a world in which it is possible for all people 
to have everything they need, for there is enough. 

One good way to think of synchronicity is as mirroring. 16 The 
world outside mirrors our world inside. Partly, as we have seen with 
the example of the battered woman, the external world tends to dra- 
matize what is going on in our internal world so that we notice it. 
An example: One day last year I was heading out of town. It had 
been a very busy week, and I was rather proud of myself for getting 
everything done and still having time for a quick jog before heading 
for the airport. I started running near my home, congratulating myself 
on my pace, which, considering I had not run in a week, seemed 
pretty good to me. 

All of a sudden, the mail carrier, who was waving in a friendly 
fashion, yelled, "You can do better than that! You're hardly moving!" 
Well, I immediately felt awful. I kept running, aware of how angry 
I was about this fellow's ruining my fine mood. However, I figured 
he probably was trying to make a connection but lacked skills, so I 



THE MAGICIAN / 135 

rounded the block and came back to where he was munching on a 
sack lunch. I stopped and said, "I know you probably meant that 
comment to be helpful, but I was running at the right pace for me. 
Your comment felt like a real putdown. I hope you don't do that to 
your wife or girlfriend." He replied in a rather crestfallen manner, 
"Maybe that's why I don't have one/' 

Treating him as a potential friend was only part of my task, a part 
that enabled him to respond with honesty and vulnerability. The other 
was to check out whether this incident could be mirroring something 
inside me. Going inside to change clothes, I thought about his com" 
ment and realized I had had a tape in my head all week, saying 
"Hurry up, you aren't going fast enough." I didn't notice my tape, 
but I sure noticed his comment! Hearing it and getting angry helped 
me to recognize that I did not need to pressure myself that way either. 
I had been going at a good pace, for me, all week. No need'to push 
further or judge that effort. 

Mirroring also works the other way. That is, often when I change 
my inner world, the outer one changes as well. For example, 1 know 
women who see men as either potential rescuers or villains, so most 
of the men they find usually fall into the latter category. The women 
want to be rescued because they do not know they can rescue them- 
selves. When they take their journey and develop what they and the 
culture see as their more masculine side (i.e., self-sufficiency and 
courage), suddenly they discover men who are neither rescuers nor 
villains but just people like themselves, and rather nice people at 
that! Put another way, when women develop and make friends with 
the man inside them, then, as if by magic, the external equivalent 
appears although sometimes there is a time lag! Similarly, when 
men fully allow and integrate their own intuition, vulnerability, and 
need for love and intimacy, they often are astounded by how many 
interesting and thoroughly admirable women suddenly appear on the 
scene. 

When we are in the Wanderer stage, the world is full of suffering; 
when we move into the Warrior stage, the world miraculously 
changes with us, and confronts us not so much with catastrophies as 
with challenges. As we enter the Martyr stage, we find ourselves 
surrounded by people needing love and care at every turn. 

When people pronounce that everyone is out to get them, watch 



136 / THE HERO WITHIN 

your pockets when you are with them! Some people are always talk- 
ing about how hard life is and, sure enough, they have one catas- 
trophe after another. Or, conversely, sometimes we attract to us what 
we are denying. So someone walking around with rose-colored 
glasses all the time may attract certain problems so as to grow in 
awareness. Someone in the Warrior phase may believe that life is a 
battle or contest. They view any other way of seeing the world as 
escapist or naive. Try to tell them about abundance, sharing, and 
love, and they think you have lost your marbles. Because they believe 
that and hence live it, everything in their life is a contest or battle. 

Often the people we have the most difficulty with spark a Shadow 
side of ourselves. If we cannot abide political "hawks" or Pentagon 
generals, we may find that the vehemence of our feeling declines as 
we take a strong stand fighting for a world free of nuclear threat. If 
our teeth are set on edge by dependent, whiny people, we may find 
that as we acknowledge our own dependency and sense of power- 
lessness, we can be more empathetic with them. As we expand our 
own repertoire of behaviors and allow ourselves to be more whole, 
we attract to ourselves more interesting people or we are able to 
understand how interesting other people have been all along. Many 
women, for example, socialized to be competitive with other women, 
think that other women typically are competitive, backbiting, and not 
to be trusted. As they begin to find value in their own femaleness, 
most of the women around them seem suddenly and quite miracu- 
lously to have become sisterly and honest. If this does not happen, 
they might then take the responsibility for attracting Shadow-pos- 
sessed women, asking "What is this mirroring in me?" The negative 
qualities associated stereotypically with men and with women are 
examples of what happens when we do not allow our full femaleness 
or maleness, and become possessed by the Shadow of our sexual 
identity. 

Sometimes we also cannot abide people who display the qualities 
we are just moving beyond. When we move out of the first stages 
of Martyr, for instance, we usually want to be done with sacrifice. 
Our feelings of irritation and anger at people who still are maiming 
themselves for others motivate us to explore other, more assertive 
archetypes. Ultimately, however, Magicians recognize that when a 
manifestation of the archetype so hooks them, they have more work 



THE MAGICIAN / 137 

to do with it. The strength of our revulsion to such a manifestation 
of any archetype is itself a call to the quest to understand it at a 
different level of truth. Ultimately, all the archetypes bring us trea- 
sures, just as do all the experiences of life good and bad if we 
hang in there and learn from them. 

As Martyrs learn to allow pain, Wanderers loneliness, and Warriors 
fear, Magicians come allow faith, love, and joy. The more they let 
in, the more they attract to themselves. Matthew Fox, in Wheel, We, 
Wee All the Way Home, argues that the ultimate prayer is to receive 
life fully: 

A friend who gives me a record is pleased when he learns of my delight at 
playing the record. After all, my delight was the very goal he intended in 
giving me the gift. The Creator can be no different. Our thank->ou for 
creation, our fundamental prayer, therefore, is our enjoyment and delight in 
it. This delight is called ecstasy when it reaches a certain height, and it is 
also prayer. Like all prayer, it touches the Creator and we are touched by 
the Creator in that act of ecstasy and thank-you. 17 

The Magician's process is not simply passive receiving, however. 
It is a matter of asking, too, and sometimes rejecting. The Christian 
Scripture that most resonates for the Magician's consciousness is 
Matthew 7:7-9: 

Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will 
be opened. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him 
who knocks, the door will be opened. 

A novel that exemplifies the Magician's process is Margaret Drab- 
ble's The Realms of Gold. Its central character, Frances Wingate, 
thinks back over her life with a humble sense of wonder at all she 
has received. Frances has a rather unusual capacity to trust herself 
and her vision, and the result is that she habitually has asked for 
what she wanted . . . and gotten it. She is aware that she never has 
made things happen; they just have happened. She is an archaeologist 
who became quite famous when she discovered the ruins of an an- 
cient city in a desert. Actually, one day in an airport she simply 
knew where it was. Of course, this intuitive knowledge was grounded 
in all her study of the ancient culture of the Phoenicians, but it was 
the intuitive flash that made the difference. Furthermore, she un- 



138 / THE HERO WITHIN 

questioningly followed her hunch and found and then excavated the 
site. She wonders: 

If I hadn't imagined it, it wouldn't have existed. All her life, things had 
been like that. She had imagined herself doing well at school, and had done 
well. Marrying, and had married. Bearing children, and had borne them. 
Being rich, and had become rich. Being free, and was free. Finding true 
love, and had found it. Losing it, and had lost it. What next should she 
imagine? 18 

The enormity of the power frightens her. She worries that she 
might imagine something frightful and that would happen, too. Ac- 
cordingly, she comes face to face with her sense of responsibility 
for her own life and her contributions to the world. It also is true 
that Frances is looking back over her life with the Magician's con- 
sciousness as she ponders. Events do not feel so fortuitous and easy 
as they happen. Yet had she not learned the lessons of the Warrior, 
she could not so confidently have followed up on her hunch, orga- 
nized an expedition, and proceeded to dig. Similarly, she would not 
have had the independence of mind and courage to take her career 
seriously at a time when women were not expected to be able to 
combine career with a husband and family. 

Her life is an interesting example of the Magician's consciousness, 
and a very human one. She is not "perfect." In fact, she drinks too 
much and in other ways is prone to self-indulgence. But that is part 
of the point: She is not better than other people, and she is a Ma- 
gician. She visualizes what she wants and takes action to get it with 
a simple, relaxed confidence that it will happen, without falling into 
denial or escapism. For example, she sends a postcard to a lover 
from whom she had parted, saying she wants him back. The postcard 
is delayed in reaching him, and her response when she does not hear 
from him is puzzlement. After all, he always said he would come 
back if she asked him to, and she believed him. Finally, he receives 
the postcard and runs to her side, and she has her wish a truly 
satisfying, intimate relationship. 

I have a friend who recently became interested in affirmations. As 
Orphans we learn, as we face our helplessness, to pray for divine 
intercession and/or to ask for people to help us. As Magicians we 
retain this important lesson but add something to it the ability to 



THE MAGICIAN / 139 

affirm good as existing in our lives right now. We do not need to 
plead or even ask for the things we need to thrive, we only need to 
open up to them. Everything we ever could choose is already in the 
universe: pain, hardship, loneliness, joy, ease, love. By affirming 
that we have what we want, we call it to us. My friend gave me a 
"perfect happiness" affirmation (from a book by Marion Weinstein 
called Positive Magic), 19 and explained to me that 1 could affirm just 
about anything, like prosperity, the perfect lover, or one's true work, 
but that I never should ask for someone else's money, joy, husband, 
or lover. That is, I never should affirm anything at anyone else's 
expense. To help me stay in that mentality, she reminded me of the 
abundance of the universe and that 1 never need to take from another 
in order to have what / need. 

I tried affirming perfect happiness and initially 1 felt ridiculous and 
presumptuous. First of all, saying affirmations how silly! Beyond 
that, who did I think I was, affirming happiness? Wisdom, maybe. 
Strength. Compassion. But happiness seemed so selfish. Then 1 
thought that through and realized how the ripple effect works. If I 
am unhappy, look dour, act grouchy, I certainly pass that attitude 
on to my children, my husband, my friends, my students, and my 
colleagues. If 1 am happy and smile at them, the people around me 
are likely to smile back and carry that smile on to their other inter- 
actions during the day. Happiness breeds more happiness, so that 
happiness like prosperity and love can radiate outward to benefit 
others. 

Affirmations are but one of many strategies to open up and choose 
the good, the beautiful, and the true. In making such choices we 
become rainmakers, allowing what should be to come to us and help- 
ing it come to those around us as well. If what we really need for 
our growth is to develop warrioring skills, we will attract a great 
challenge; if we have not fully learned the lessons of martyrdom, 
we may invoke the chance to give a great gift or to learn to accept 
a great loss. Perfect happiness is always getting what we need to 
grow. However, what we need will always include a good percentage 
of joy, abundance, and prosperity if we stop fighting life and instead 
open up to the full range of human experience. 

It also is critical to remember that we always have choices. Saying 
yes to life is meaningful only to the degree we know we can say no. 



140 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Sometimes we want to say no to what someone else may intend to 
be a gift to us. Sometimes people give us gifts as a way of manip- 
ulating us, or they give to us out of a sense of duty when it does 
not genuinely fit for them to do so. Or it may fit for them to give 
to us, but not for us to receive it. 

Accepting such gifts may cause both persons harm. In the familiar 
story of "The Frog Prince," a young princess drops her golden ball 
into the pond and is inconsolable. A frog appears and says he will 
get it for her if she promises that she will let him eat from her bowl 
and sleep on her pillow. She agrees, and he fetches the ball. Then, 
to her horror, her father insists she keep her word. In the version I 
heard as a child, the frog turned into a prince when she kissed him. 
Lots of jokes have made the rounds about how many frogs women 
kiss, hoping one will be transformed into a prince, but little attention 
has been paid to the princess's suppression of disgust. The princess 
feels repulsed by the frog, and implicit in the story is a message that 
the proper young princess should repress those feelings. 

A contrast with a similar story is helpful here. "Beauty and the 
Beast" is a prototypical Magician story. Here, too, the Beast is trans- 
formed into a prince by the princess's kiss, yet the circumstances 
are quite different from those in 'The Frog Prince." The Beast acts 
quite princely to Beauty: He is always kind and generous to her. 
True, he asks her to marry him every night, but she stays with her 
feelings and always says no. He respects her right to do so even 
though he knows it means he may stay a beast always; because only 
love will undo the spell and make him human. And finally, when 
Beauty agrees to marry him, she does mean it. She does love him. 
Then, and only then, is he transformed. 

"Beauty and the Beast" suggests that we can transform not only 
ourselves but others by loving them just as they are especially if 
they let in that love. "The Frog Prince," however, is a different story. 
The frog takes advantage of the princess, and she is emotionally 
younger and not so wise as Beauty, not so able to love the frog as 
a frog. Madonna Kolhbenschlag, in Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye, 
however, pleased me very much when she explained that in the orig- 
inal version of the Frog Prince story, the frog was transformed not 
by a kiss but only when the princess acknowledged her disgust, 



THE MAGICIAN / 141 

picked him up, and threw him in the fire. 19 (I like to think she shouted 
"Yuck!" as she did so.) 



Wise Love Transforms 

I certainly have known people who have been transformed because 
someone loved them just for who they were, warts and all. But I 
also know that in our culture, love often means indulging people, 
allowing them to mistreat you. I have seen more men changed, 1 
think, when their wives stopped putting up with their chauvinism 
than through their acceptance of it. I have seen children change when 
their parents thought enough of them to demand that they act in 
keeping with their inner wisdom, or at least common sense. In fact, 
I do not think this is a dualism. I think love, wise love, sometimes 
demands a transformative toss into the fire, rather than the reinforce- 
ment of beastliness or froggishness in people. The toss into the fire 
also was a statement of self-respect for the princess. She had enough 
respect for herself not to force herself to kiss frogs no matter what 
her father said! No matter what she had promised! 

The Beast is transformed through the love of Beauty, and the frog 
is transformed only when he is thrown into the fire. What that means 
is that both women are Magicians when they fully trust and assert 
their own integrity. Now, this is not the Warrior's view of integrity 
which requires keeping one's word, whatever the cost but integrity 
that means living fully in keeping with one's deepest self. (Although 
keeping one's word is important to Magicians, too. They will not 
trust their capacity to name and to cocreate if they speak carelessly.) 
The young woman princess in "Beauty and the Beast" turns the Beast 
down night after night as long as it does not truly fit for her to be 
his bride. She does not force herself to do some goody-goody rescue 
number. What saves him is the genuineness of her love, just as the 
frog is so much better off after knowing the princess's honest disgust. 

I often have been surprised at people who assume that, because I 
am for women's liberation, I hate men. I tell them that if a woman 
is standing there and a man is stepping on her foot, the proper thing 
to say is, "You are standing on my foot." If he does not move, then 
it makes sense to say, "Get off my foot!" Once he is off, and her 



142 / THE HERO WITHIN 

foot no longer hurts, they can proceed to have a cordial conversation. 
If, however, (as women are encouraged to) she continues a cordial 
perhaps even flirtatious conversation while he is standing on her 
foot, pretty soon she is in fairly serious pain. That is when she starts 
hating herself and him. And that hatred blocks the love. Just as fear 
is a gift, so too is anger. It teaches us what we need to change to 
free ourselves, what we need to change to feel more love. 

Being ladylike or gentlemanly and denying one's anger simply 
results in unconscious sabotage of the relationship. Allowing one's 
anger is transformative because it allows for a true and open, honest 
relationship. It allows, therefore, for love. Margaret Atwood writes 
in Lady Oracle about a protagonist who lives several lives, all ver- 
sions of the roles she has been taught to play. It is only the explosion 
of her anger at the end of the novel that makes any real relationship 
possible. She hits a reporter over the head with a wine bottle (mis- 
taking him for her husband). Visiting him in the hospital, she notes 
they have become great friends. He is, after all, the only person who 
knows anything about her. 21 

One of the best things men and women can do for each other 
today is the liberating (metaphorical) whack on the side of the head 
that forces them out of playing tired, worn, old sex roles into finding 
out what it really means to be male or female or human. If we try 
to adopt the Magician's outlook without ever having learned the War- 
rior's lessons, we inevitably will think that the Beauty and the Beast 
transformation can happen by an mdiscriminating judgment, which 
does not show much self-esteem. It certainly would not transform 
Beast if Beauty's acceptance of him was a result of a belief that she 
did not desire anything more than beastliness. Nor would it serve if 
she simply thought that everything in life was wonderful and she 
loved everything equally. Being open to life and to love does not 
mean giving up the capacity to choose whom you wish to spend your 
time with and what you wish to do. The Magician is not sentimental 
or romantic. The goal is to recognize what is true about yourself and 
others. While at the root we are all one in love, there are many layers 
above that reality layers it may be inappropriate to overlook. 

It takes so much courage and discipline to live with true integrity 
moment to moment that we cannot do it without having gone through 
the stage of being a Warrior. We all have learned well the lessons 



THE MAGICIAN / 143 

of acting nice or manipulating so we can control the situation. Being 
honest and open in the moment is being profoundly vulnerable. It 
does not allow for manipulation and control, but it does allow for 
intimacy, for love, and occasionally for magic moments of tran- 
scendence. 

This is what Anne Wilson Schaef calls "living in process," being 
absolutely true to your being in the moment. 22 It is a kind of heroism 
that is not available to persons in the stage of proving their worth, 
because they always will be straining to be better than they are and 
hence always will be just a little dishonest. Being able to "live in 
process" requires a view of the world in which everyone and every- 
thing is peer, because everyone is crucial to human evolution. 

Because women so prize affiliation and intimacy and because they 
usually have been socialized to be open, affirming, and receptive, 
they take to the Magician stage like ducks to water (that is, if, and 
only if, they have dared first to claim their identities as Warriors). 

For men, the situation is more complicated and less obvious: ter- 
rified of intimacy and believing in their superiority, they feel they 
have much to lose in being merely peer. They may be loath to leave 
the warrior stage because it is equated with their masculinity. 

What am I, a male may ask, if not man the hunter? And often in 
the transition from Warrior to Magician, a man may be alienated 
temporarily from (at least traditional views about) masculinity and 
focus on developing his more caring, affiliative, sensitive side. Yet, 
in doing so, he may feel a profound loss, and wonder about what it 
means to be male. That is where pioneering men like Tom Brown 
(in The Search) are so important, redefining what it means to be a 
hunter, taking us back to the ancient love of the earth, pride in one- 
self, yet with the knowledge that being a hunter does not mean su- 
periority hunters also are prey. 

Some men are coming to see that if it is their nature to hunt, they 
should hunt. If it is their nature to protect, they should protect. Doing 
so will not mean they cannot also nurture or be sensitive and em- 
pathetic. To put this in Jungian terms, after they integrate the anima, 
they need to circle back and integrate the animus, their deeper sense 
of masculinity. In the resulting androgynous state, however, mas- 
culinity no longer is macho: One can be male and fully honor 
women, giving up the illusion of superiority for the reality of human 



144 / THE HERO WITHIN 

community. Most men who have done so find that to be no hard 
bargain. 

So, too, some women set aside or repress their major focus on 
nurturance and affiliation in the service of acquiring qualities of in- 
dependence and assertion. Later, when they have claimed their power 
and their autonomy, they may feel that something is missing, and 
as a result once again allow in themselves the qualities associated 
with femininity that truly fit for them. Inevitably, femaleness at this 
juncture comes to mean something much more powerful and exciting 
than conventional femininity. 

Each sex begins by defining his or her sex role in opposition to 
the other, repressing the qualities they associate with the opposite 
sex. In developing these banished qualities and integrating the an- 
ima and animus, respectively there is a temporary flip-flop in which 
the old sex role is rejected in the interest of new growth. Finally, 
as an individual becomes more and more androgynous and as both 
sides are allowed, maleness and femaleness are redefined. And, as 
heroes repress fewer and fewer qualities, they become clearer and 
more balanced and thus more capable of transforming their worlds. 

Shug in Alice Walker's The Color Purple is a powerful example 
of an androgynous Magician who lives with almost total fidelity to 
who she is. As a result, she transforms a patriarchal, power-over 
environment in which there is little or no love or happiness into a 
true community. She does not set out to change things. They change 
because she is who she is which includes qualities of independence, 
assertiveness, gentleness, and care. Celie, the main character in the 
story, begins as a molested and battered child, married off to a man 
who does not love her but just wants someone to care for his children. 
He beats her because of his rage that she is not Shug, for he loved 
Shug although he did not have the courage to marry her. Celie knows 
about Shug, knows how free and honest she is, and instead of being 
threatened by her, gets courage just from seeing Shug's picture. 

Celie had already gained some self-esteem from a choice she made 
for martyrdom when, as a teenager, she dressed up to attract her 
father so he would not also molest her little sister. She chose to 
sacrifice her own body for her beloved sister. Later, from Shug she 
learns to stand up for herself. Shug at first is hostile to her because 
she is married to Albert, but after Celie nurses her through an illness, 



THE MAGICIAN / 145 

Shug comes to love her. In this beauty and the beast situation, Celie 
comes to value herself because Shug cares about her, and eventually 
they become lovers. Shug helps Celie learn to love and value her 
own femaleness and to find her own gifts: She makes wonderful, 
custom-made comfortable pants. Finally Celie learns to love without 
dependence when she discovers she can survive and be content even 
when Shug leaves her. 

Albert's fate is more like the frog's. First Shug confronts and 
rejects him when she learns he has beaten Celie, and then Celie 
confronts and leaves him, cursing him all the while, saying that ev- 
erything he has ever done to her will rebound karmically on him. 
He is healed, however, by the love and care of his son. 

By the end of the story, all three Celie, Shug, and Albert care 
about one another. Albert has given up his pretensions to being the 
patriarch and Shug has returned to Celie. When the women claim 
their lives, they create a nurturing and empowering community with 
one another. The men are left to console one another. The result is 
that the men, too, choose to give up their illusions of power and 
open up to caring for each other. Their reward is to be let into the 
loving community. 

Ultimately, Shug, the Magician, redefines not only human com- 
munity but spiritual reality as well. Patriarchal religions have defined 
God the Father as "up there" and people as a ladder with a white 
male god at the top. Shug explains to Celie that God is not male 
and not white. God, she says, is an It and you do not need to placate 
and please It. God really is in everything, including Celie and herself. 
Rubbing Celie's thigh, she explains: 

. . . God love all them feelings. That's some of the best stuff God did. 
And when you know God loves 'em you enjoys 'em a lot more. You can 
just relax, go with everything that's going, and praise God by liking what 
you like. God don't think it dirty? I ast. Naw, she say, God made it. Listen. 
God love everything you love and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than 
anything else, God love admiration. You saying God vain, I ast. Naw, she 
say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off 
if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. 
What it do when it pissed off? I ast. Oh, it makes something else. People 
think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world 
can see it always trying to please us back. . . . Yes, Celie, she say. Every- 



146 / THE HERO WITHIN 

thing want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower 
bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git 
attention we do, except walk? 23 

What we see here, so elegantly explained by Shug, is a new spir- 
itual paradigm. Magicians do not try to appease God, envisioned as 
above them, and they do not try to work hard to be like God either. 
There is no need to because God is not envisioned as better. Without 
a God up above and a devil down below, there is nothing to prove 
and no guilt to atone for. People are expected just to be people the 
way flowers are flowers and nothing else. Our job is to live and 
be both fully ourselves and in loving relationship with one another, 
the earth, and with God. 

For many women and some men, the religious paradigm Shug 
describes is easier to envision when they imagine not God, but a 
Goddess. Women are not expected to be superior or have power over 
us, so the image does not evoke such judgmental implications as a 
Father God. Because the image of a male deity also has been used 
as an apology for male dominance, and because some women ex- 
perience a deity as Other as not female it often is empowering 
for women to image a Goddess. The Goddess is like us. The image 
also helps us understand and honor the divine in ourselves. Other 
women may not evoke the image of a Goddess, but will emphasize 
the feminine attributes of God. 

The same is true for some men, because they identify a nonhier- 
archical affiliative way of seeing the world as female. The Goddess, 
or androgynous ways of imaging God, then, can facilitate their claim- 
ing the parts of themselves that prefer loving to conquering. Hence 
the Goddess often presides over the transition from Warrior to Ma- 
gician and the attendant integration of "female" love and nurturance 
with "male" courage and discipline. It is important to recognize, 
however, that although men have preferred warrioring and women 
loving, the Magician is an androgyne who has integrated both. 

Movement into the New World 

Just as there are levels of truth experienced by the Martyr, the 
Wanderer, and the Warrior, there are stages of being a Magician. The 
Magician's journey actually begins with the archetype of the Innocent 



THE MAGICIAN / 147 

in the magical thinking characteristic of children. In our culture we 
discourage such thinking to foster more rationalistic ways of seeing 
the world. As we begin our journeys, we do need to learn to distin- 
guish fact from fiction and what we make up from what we actually 
experience, and we need to learn not to expect magical solutions. 
Yet even having been taught at an early age to distrust such thinking, 
most people have had some experience that feels magical E.S.R, 
a moment of grace, or that time they just knew to get off the road. 
But most people compartmentalize those times as being outside the 
category of the real, separate from the rest of life. Actually, none 
of these phenomena including synchronicity and mirroring really 
are magic. They operate by laws as demonstrable as causality or 
gravity. The Magician simply leams these other laws in addition to 
those of cause and effect and thus assumes a new way of seeing, 
quite different from the consensual reality of our culture. 

Historically, only a few people in the culture have moved to this 
stage. At present, however, large numbers of people in the New Age 
movement, the feminist movement, and liberation movements within 
Christianity and Judaism are thinking in these ways. Many others 
simply live as if such ideas were true. The transition to this stage 
for many depends upon people knowing it is there, just as the Martyr 
is unlikely to imagine what it is to be a Warrior unless she actually 
has seen people who went after what they wanted, fought for it, and 
won. 

The Magician's power, however, should not be used until the les- 
sons of the Martyr, the Wanderer, and the Warrior have been learned. 
Without the desire to use one's power for others as well as for one- 
self, without a commitment to one's own integrity, and without the 
courage and discipline it takes to assert one's own truth in the world, 
the Magician's power inevitably will be misused. It may be used to 
gain an exemption from pain, to help others when helping really is 
meddling, and most often, to gain one's own egocentric ends. That 
is why it is just as well that most people do not believe in that power. 
And that is why many people refuse to believe in it, even when they 
have experienced it. They know they would misuse it. The idea 
frightens them. 

For most people, then, the first stage of magicianship will be sep- 
arated from the rest of their experience and for some time will have 



148 / THE HERO WITHIN 

little or no effect on the ways they see the world. Like Shug's impact 
on Celie and Albert, the Magician's way of relating to the world can 
begin to influence one's life if one meets a Magician or reads books 
that make that worldview accessible. The next step may be simply 
to begin noticing synchronistic events or to look back over one's life, 
asking, "What if I chose (at my deep soul level) everything that has 
happened to me? And what if I have faith that I chose rightly?" The 
result will be to understand that, even without knowing it, we have 
been cocreators all the time. The final stage is to make that process 
more conscious, to take responsibility for creation as a conscious as 
well as an unconscious process. Doing so requires the audacity and 
confidence of the Warrior to name and confront dragons. Doing so 
responsibly and well requires the Martyr's ability to let go and love 
the universe, affirming dragons as Shadows. Paradoxically, as Ma- 
gicians both take control and let go, they open up to the adventure 
of going where they have to go and want to go, in faith and in joy. 

In practice, this means having the faith that, when they are ready 
for a new love, they will have one. When they are ready for a new 
job, it will be there. They will live in as transfromed a kingdom as 
they are ready to live in. When they are ready for something new, 
it means visioning what they want, asking the universe for it, yet 
also knowing that if they do not get what they ask for, their deeper, 
wiser self may be putting in yet a different order. Often when they 
do not get what they want by envisioning it, it is because they need 
to be developing skills associated with some of the other archetypes. 
Maybe they need to assert themselves more in the world. Maybe they 
need to learn additional lessons about giving or exploring. 

Sometimes they also need to remember interdependence. Their ca- 
pacity to get what they need is dependent not only upon their own 
development but upon that of other people. 24 

When asked if it is true that people choose their own parents, 
Starhawk (author of Dreaming the Dark) said, "Yes, but it is a little 
like ordering a Japanese car. Supplies are limited. You may not be 
able to get the style and color you prefer." In other words, the world 
out there is not illusory. You cannot have what you ask for unless 
it exists or you are willing to invent or create it. 

If what you want does not exist yet or is in very short supply, 
you may need to invent it or just wait. Sometimes the partner you 



THE MAGICIAN / 149 

want is there but not yet at the right place in his or her journey to 
meet you. Maybe the culture you live in does not have a standard 
form of employment to match your vocation. One woman I know 
felt very aimless and went to a psychic, who told her her problem 
was being by nature a temple-keeper in a world with no temples. 
There are no ads in the paper for temple-keepers. Obviously, the 
answer for her was to build temples, or to redefine what it means to 
be a temple-keeper in today's world. What is helpful to remember 
here is synchronicity. Rarely are persons so far ahead of their culture 
that they are not, at least in some ways, a microcosm of it. Temple- 
keepers need to find out what they revere as holy and then keep those 
things safe. 

Recognizing our interdependence can feel limiting because we can 
go only so far into a new world or new age by ourselves. However, 
first it is important to recognize how profoundly our lives can be 
changed even in the present society. I have noticed people in the 
same country who seem to be living in very different universes. 
There are those whose lives are defined by a sense of scarcity, lack, 
loneliness, fear, poverty (of spirit, which makes even people with 
wealth feel poor), and ugliness; and there are those who are sur- 
rounded by love, beauty, and abundance and who feel befriended, 
prosperous, and happy. Similarly, some people are living in the nine- 
teenth century while others are living in the twenty-first century. In 
many ways, we truly inhabit different worlds. 

The Warrior believes we have to force people to move into the 
new world, but the Magician knows that we only need to be presented 
with an option. People are attracted to increased life. Left to them- 
selves, they will gravitate to it. And so much more is out there and 
available right now than most of us ever will have a chance to enjoy 
fully. There is now more than enough, and as more people become 
freed up to be more creative, there will be more and more all the 
time. 

Mary Staton's science fiction classic, From the Legend of BieL 
describes a civilization that slowly grows to encompass most of the 
universe, yet never fights a battle. The civilization is peaceful, egal- 
itarian, and complex. Other groups join them, not because they are 
forced to, but because their curiosity always eventually leads them 
to it. When they get there, they find themselves in the Hall of a 



150 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Thousand Chambers, where they experience many adventures. In 
doing so, they evolve and discover who they are on a deeper level. 
In the process they move from a primitive, linear, dualistic, hierar- 
chical, patriarchal consciousness to a more complex, multidimen- 
sional, and egalitarian way of seeing the world. 25 When they have 
advanced to that level, they cannot imagine going back to their 
former ways of doing things. That would be like crawling after they 
had learned to walk or fly. 

Magicians do not try to force social change, because they rec- 
ognize that people need to take their journeys in order to be able to 
live in a humane and peaceful world. On the other hand, they rec- 
ognize that there is so much in the culture that artificially retards 
people and keeps them unnecessarily stuck. Magicians act as magnets 
who attract and galvanize positive energy for change. They can do 
this by identifying the places where growth can occur for individuals, 
institutions, or social groups, and then by fostering it. Although they 
may or may not be the leader in a particular political, religious, or 
intellectual movement, they act as rainmakers. When they are there, 
growth occurs. 

Because so much of what we believe about the world really is 
projection, Magicians are able to inspire hope in others because they 
know it is possible to have a peaceful, humane, just, and caring 
world: They have learned to be peaceful, caring, and respectful of 
others and themselves! Further, they attract what they are, so they 
also have many areas in their lives in which they experience such a 
world as their reality. 

They know that when we open our hearts, we always have enough 
love. When we stop hoarding talents, ideas, material goods we 
always are prosperous. They know we create scarcity through our 
fears, but when we fully give the gifts of our lives to the universe 
and each other, we find our true work, or true loves, and experience 
the fullness of our true nature which always is good. 

Thus Magicians come to believe that life can be joyous and abun- 
dant, from the actual experience of their lives. Shevek in Ursula Le 
Guin's The Dispossessed speaks out of the Magician's consciousness 
when he says, "You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be 
the Revolution." 26 The Magician knows that when you do so, your 
world changes as if by magic. 



Chapter 7 

THE RETURN 

It takes 

So many thousand years to wake, 

But will you wake for pity's sake. . .? 

CHRISTOPHER FRY, "A Sleep of Prisoners" 



A, 



Lt the beginning of the classic hero myth, the kingdom 
is a wasteland. Crops are not growing, illness is rampant, babies are 
not being born, alienation and despair are pervasive. The fertility, 
the sense of life, has disappeared from the kingdom. This dilemma 
is associated with some failure on the part of the king, who is im- 
potent, or sinful, or despotic. The more youthful challenger goes on 
a journey, confronts a dragon, and wins a treasure, which may be 
riches or a more clearly symbolic object such as the grail in the Grail 
myths or a sacred fish in the Fisher King myths. 1 When the hero 
returns, he (and, as we have seen, it was classically a he) is made 
king, but more important than that, upon his return the kingdom is 
magically transformed: It rains, crops spring up, babies are born, the 
plague is cured, and people feel hopeful and alive once more. 

Heroes, then, are not only people who grow and change and take 
their journeys but also ones who help transform the kingdom. In The 
Hero: Mythl Image! Symbol, Dorothy Norman maintains that "Myths 
of the heroes speak most eloquently of man's quest to choose life 
over death." 2 Joseph Campbell, in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 
defines the hero as "the champion not of things become but of things 
becoming; the dragon to be slain by him is precisely the monster of 
the status quo: Holdfast the keeper of the past." 3 The hero's task 
always has been to bring new life to a dying culture. 

Heroes in this new age have just the same function. They differ, 
however, in the essentially equalitarian nature of the quest and of the 
kingdom. Instead of one person and that person usually a white 
man taking the quest and bringing a new truth or reality into the 



152 / THE HERO WITHIN 

kingdom, we all need to be doing so. Heroism for this age requires 
us to take our journeys, to find the treasure of our true selves, and 
to share that treasure with the community as a whole through doing 
and being fully who we are. To the degree that we do so, our king- 
doms are transformed. 

If you read the newspapers, it may appear to you that little is 
changing or that things are getting worse, not better. Indeed, in 
times of massive social transformation like this one, things always 
get better and worse simultaneously. The seeds of the new world are 
sewn in the ruins of the old, but it is still the old world that makes 
the headlines. In such a time of transition, there really is not one 
kingdom, but an infinite number of kingdoms. It is a highly exper- 
imental time until a new consensus is formed. 

In the meantime, the outward appearance of the transformed king- 
dom has little to do with who is president or what laws Congress 
passes (although these activities certainly are important, for good or 
ill, to the quality of life of most people in the country and absolutely 
critical to people living on the margins). While the macrocosmic 
community clings to the old ways and responds to growing frag- 
mentation by trying to enforce them on others, microcosmic com- 
munities are changing: workplaces, neighborhoods, associations, 
networks. The political processes of the environmental, peace, and 
feminist movements, for instance, are radically different from that 
of conventional politics; similarly, the assumptions behind practices 
in the wellness movement and alternative education are light-years 
away from those of mainstream health care and education. 

We now have choices, in many areas of our lives, about what 
worlds we wish to inhabit. When we take our journeys so that we 
know who we are and what we think and feel, what our values and 
convictions are, we begin to put ourselves out there and be seen. 
When we do so, we attract to us people like ourselves who want to 
live in the same kind of transformed kingdom. We form mini-king- 
doms, communities of like-minded people who experiment with new 
ways of being and growing in the world. This process feels mirac- 
ulouslike the miraculous transformed kingdom at the end of the 
hero's journey. 

In most cases, we did not even know that all these other people, 



THE RETURN / 153 

these movements, these books right on our own wavelength ex- 
isted. It is like learning a new word. You never were conscious of 
it before, but after you learn it, you hear it all the time. It always 
was there, of course, but not for you. You did not notice it because 
it did not exist in your world. Similarly, early in our quest we feel 
lonely and alienated, assuming that to fit in we have to conform to 
what we believe to be "reality." As we change, however, reality 
changes, too. The more we have the courage to be ourselves, the 
more chance we have of living in communities that fit for us. 

Another archetypal way of looking at this progress is to think about 
the classic plot in which the hero is an orphan, or is oppressed and 
unappreciated in the family, and searches for his or her true home. 
As we become more and more who we are and hence link up with 
others with whom we feel a deep connection, we have more, and 
more satisfying, intimacy with others. The reward for the hero's inev- 
itably solitary journey, then, is community community with the 
self, with other people, and with the natural and spiritual worlds. At 
the end of the journey, the hero feels and is at home in the world. 

This does not mean an end to problems. Taking our journeys does 
not exempt us from life; illness, mortality, disappointments, betray- 
als, even failures are part of the human condition. But if we have 
faith in ourselves and in the universe, they are much easier to bear. 
Further, because heroes confront their terrors, they are not limited 
so much by their fears. We can act without the continual tape ques- 
tioning whether we are doing the right thing, whether someone else 
will not approve, or whether someone else is out to get us. As Gerald 
Jampolsky explains in Love Is Letting Go of Fear, it is all these 
layers of fear that keep us from experiencing the love underneath. 
The more we are able to let go of our fears, the more we can tap 
into the life force. When we are continually afraid we are not OK, 
we cannot tap into the basic spiritual energy available to each one 
of us. 

If we fear nature and see it as inferior to spirit, if we see it as a 
place of danger where wild animals or bugs will devour us, we will 
not be able to be nourished by it. If we fear other people (that they 
will reject, ridicule, or harm us), we will not be able experience deep 
love and commitment to and from them. In short, we take our solitary 



154 / THE HERO WITHIN 

journeys so that we can live in love and harmony with ourselves and 
others, and so that we can be bathed in the flow of loving energy 
that is always around us. It comes from inside ourselves, from other 
people, from the natural and spiritual worlds. It is always available. 
The heroic task is to develop enough of a self to receive it without 
being afraid of getting lost in it or overwhelmed by its power. 

In the old classic context, the hero became king or queen. While 
in an equalitarian heroic model this is not likely to be the case, we 
might note that we do not find grails or sacred fish either. Perhaps 
what it means to become a king or a queen is that we take respon- 
sibility not only for our inner reality, but for the way our outer 
worlds mirror that reality. We take responsibility for being kingdom 
rulers. That means, too, that when our kingdoms feel like wastelands, 
we know it is time to hit the road and continue our quest. We may 
have become too comfortable and stopped growing. 

As James Hillman explains in Re-Visioning Psychology, our jour- 
neys and especially our encounters with the archetypes are about 
"soul-making." 4 We take our journeys to develop our souls. Collec- 
tively, we are making a world soul. The macrocosmic kingdom we 
live in reflects the state of that world soul. Whatever else we do to 
try to improve the world we live in, our fundamental duty is to take 
our journeys. Otherwise, instead of bringing more life into the world, 
we become like black holes, voids that take from life, and no matter 
how much we try to give, we sap the life energy of those around us 
and leave our worlds diminished and less alive. 

The hero's journey is not a linear path but, as I suggested earlier, 
a spiral. We keep circling through its archetypal manifestations at 
different levels of depth, breadth, and height. It is not so much that 
we go anywhere, but that we fill out. You know how some people 
feel shallow to us, as if there is not much there. Their souls are thin, 
anorexic from lack of nourishment. The journey fills us out and gives 
us substance. People who have taken their journeys feel bigger 
even if their bodies are thin or they are small of stature. We feel the 
size of their souls. 

As we move through the spiral, the "stages" of our journey become 
flowing parts of a process of interacting with the world. Every time 
we experience something that makes us feel disillusioned and/or pow- 



THE RETURN / 155 

erless, we put to use the lessons we learned as Orphans we mourn 
our loss and, recognizing that we do not have the skill or knowledge 
to deal with a situation entirely ourselves, we seek help. When we 
feel alienated, we focus inward and ask ourselves, who am I this 
time? We must take the time we need to keep up with our changing 
identities. 

When we feel threatened and angry, we know that we are not 
living exactly the way we wish to or believe in. We then assert 
ourselves and our values, taking the risk to step off the edge of 
conventionality to live the life of our choosing and to take the 
consequences of that choice. When we feel maimed by giving too 
much or inappropriately or feel put upon by other people's demands, 
it is time to explore what gifts are truly ours to give. We must ask, 
what do I really need to give to this life, and what is just placating 
others? 

Finally, when we feel doubt and fear, that is when we open our 
hearts in faith and love to enfold and affirm the shadows that creep 
at the edge of our lives, thus expanding the boundaries of the place 
that seems safe and joyful to us. This is how the Magician merges 
with the Innocent, and how we fold back to where we began, only 
more conscious and thus able to make freer choices. Now Eden is 
so much more inclusive and not so limiting. There is room there for 
more truth about ourselves and about our worlds. 

The first swings through the spiral take time and energy. They are 
experienced as hard work. It is a bit like riding a bicycle, however; 
once you get the hang of it, it comes quite naturally. As we learn 
the lessons that are the gifts of each archetype, they become a natural 
part of who we are. It's not so much that we leave the hero's journey, 
but that it becomes so much a part of us that we no longer are 
conscious of it. Our focus is on the next challenge journeys that 
may be quite different in substance and in form from the hero's. 

Although the hero's journey, as described here, is typical, it may 
or may not describe any given individual's experience. While 
schemes such as this one serve as a general, generic map for our 
journeys, ultimately each one of our journeys is different. Because 
there are no maps to show us the way, we must trust our own process 
totally. Whatever path you choose, as Don Juan has explained to 



156 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Carlos Casteneda in A Separate Reality, it leads nowhere. It is no 
disgrace to try one as many times as you need, for there is only one 
test of a true path that it brings you joy. 

Your quest may or may not follow the pattern of this one. Follow 
your own path, whatever it may be. For one thing, the hero's journey 
is only one possible path. You may need to explore another journey 
first, or you may have finished with heroism as a major focus of 
your development, at least for the time being. I have been asked 
what happens after the hero's journey. Of course, that subject is 
outside the province of this book, but suffice it to say that heroes 
become kings and queens, taking responsibility for their kingdoms. 
And/or they become lovers and study at the feet of Aphrodite or 
Eros. And/or they explore the way of freedom and spontaneity with 
the archetype of the fool. 

Whatever journey you are on, trust it absolutely, for the archetypes 
are here to help you. Open up and let them in. 



Chapter 8 

HOW TO USE (AND NOT USE) 
THIS BOOK 



If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am 
a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and 
understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as 
to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all 
I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain 
nothing. ... So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of 
these is love. 

1 Corinthians 13: 1-3, 13 



I 



Lt is important to use all knowledge ethically, humanely, 
and lovingly. This book is written to help people by naming for them 
many of the patterns that may underlie what they experience as their 
"problems." Because of the assumption in the culture that we "nor- 
mally" should be functioning just fine, smiling, well-adjusted and 
happy, people feel terrible about feeling terrible. In addition to suf- 
fering from the pain and confusion in their lives, they feel a sense 
of inadequacy for having the difficulties in the first place. Or, at the 
very least, they feel they should be able to cope with them better. 

When we see our difficulties as parts of a developmental journey, 
then some of the pain can be lessened. We can respect the process 
and honor ourselves as evolving beings, rather than fearing there is 
something wrong with us for our discontent. To the degree that we 
can honor ourselves and our journeys, moreover, we can move along 
more easily and with a greater sense of adventure and excitement in 
the process. It certainly is more dignified when one is going through 
a hard time to think of it as one's heroic "road of trials," an initiation 
of sorts, rather than proof either of one's general ineptitude or of 
how miserable and unfair life always will be. 

Therefore these theories should be used with respect for the in- 
dividual journey, whether it is yours or someone else's. They never 



158 / THE HERO WITHIN 

should be used to censor someone else for being, for example, at 
the "wrong" place on the journey. It would be better for you not 
even to have read this book than to use it as more ammunition with 
which to clobber yourself or others. 

Ethical issues related to possible cultural biases are important. A 
number of rny colleagues and students read this book in manuscript 
form and raised questions about the extent to which taking one's 
journey might be a nice expectation for privileged people but possibly 
irrelevant to the less fortunate. I have some problems with this. Soul- 
making is not just the province of the well-to-do. Indeed, the rela- 
tionship of human development to questions of class, race, etc., is 
quite a complex one. 

I know people with more money, privilege, and access to edu- 
cation and career success than most of us ever will have, but their 
spiritual poverty is so great that they do not develop. So, too, in the 
poorest, most depressed black or Hispanic neighborhoods and on 
Indian reservations, inevitably you will find old men and women who 
are as wise and fully developed as you will find anywhere: My claim 
is not simply that individuals can triumph over odds (or resist growth 
in the best of circumstances); it is also that affluence is not just a 
matter of wealth and power. There is a tendency among white middle- 
class people to see the worth of our own materialistic culture but not 
of the many subcultures in our midst, especially where those cultures 
are not materially successful. 

Alternatively, we sometimes romanticize minority cultures and 
thereby escape having to acknowledge the genuine barriers to growth 
resulting from debasing and crippling poverty, dependency, and 
alienation from a society that does not respect or cherish one's in- 
dividuality or culture. This is most blatantly true for Native Amer- 
icans, but also to varying degrees for all oppressed groups, whether 
that oppression is based upon race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, 
or class. 

Oppression tends to lock us into the Orphan mode, since the more 
oppressed and mistreated we really are, the more oppressed we feel. 
We do a disservice to ourselves and others when we gloss over these 
realities. Particularly if we internalize in ourselves or reinforce in 
others the societal myth that everyone has an equal chance to compete 
in the society (and conversely that we are then to blame for our 



HOW TO USE THIS BOOK / 159 

failure to succeed), we keep ourselves and others from recognizing 
and accepting the pain of our oppression. Seeing the world as it is 
and mourning its inhumanity is a prerequisite to moving on to other 
paths. 

Similarly, we should not romanticize privilege. Many upper class 
white men have been allowed to grow up in such a self-centered way 
that their development is arrested in the Innocent stage. Without ac- 
knowledging both the ways that they, too, are limited and how their 
advantages are won at the expense of other people, they cannot pro- 
gress very far along their journeys, either. 

There are no true hierarchies in soulmaking. The evolution of the 
collective human soul depends equally on each of us, and none of 
us is more important than anyone else. There are many paths, and 
not all of them are heroic ones. Some people you meet may even 
be exploring their dark side a path many would disapprove of. Who 
is to say their soulmaking is less important than the heroic path de- 
scribed here? Indeed, some reconciliation with and affirmation of the 
Shadow is necessary to travel the Magician's path. 

Accordingly, these ideas also never should be used for manipu- 
lative purposes. It is true that your business might be more profitable 
if your employees were at the Magician stage, but that does not give 
you the right to try to force them there. I recently heard of a very 
well-meaning man who was playing tapes with subliminal messages 
in his place of business so that his employees would learn, sublim- 
inally, to trust the universe and believe in prosperity and abundance. 
He does not need to violate people this way. Instead, he could be- 
come a Magician himself, and he would attract plenty more persons 
like himself. 

The description of a progression here is only that not a prescrip- 
tion. It should not be used to design experiences that try to help 
people move lockstep through the same stages. Although the pat- 
terns, I believe, hold up in general, individual psyches are very 
diverse, and their autonomy and uniqueness need to be respected. 
These patterns can help you along, because as you can name the 
experiences that you or others are going through, you can hasten 
learning and make the experience easier and less threatening. They 
should, however, never be seen as normative, as stages one must go 
through or be forever inadequate. 



160 / THE HERO WITHIN 

In short, as long as you remember that what is important is the 
individual journey not any theories about it feel free to be as 
creative as you like in devising ways to use the ideas in this book. 
They are meant to give people comfort on their journeys and to 
remind us all that questing is a sacred function. It can be described 
and encouraged but should not be unduly contained and certainly not 
manipulated, forced, or rushed. Often, the best path may be a wind- 
ing one, and we may appear to be heading quite the opposite way 
from where we ultimately will perch. Journeys are not efficient, pre- 
dictable, or linear. 

Archetypal psychology carries with it an approach to life that val- 
ues most of all the development of the individual soul. To attempt 
to contain that development within some preconceived idea of virtue, 
mental health, good adjustment, proper functioning, or what is nec- 
essary to succeed in a materialistic culture is to do evil, to add to 
the walking death in the culture. It is not that mental health, virtue, 
achievement, and material and social success are not important; they 
simply are not absolute values. Certainly, they are not worth sacri- 
ficing individuation, individuality, and the development of a unique 
soul for. There are times when people need to go crazy, to be poor, 
alone, or bad, for their development. While it is critical that we 
provide help for people when they are in trouble in these ways (and 
protect ourselves if doing so is required), we do so best when we 
help them learn the gift, the lessons they can gain from each state, 
and not make them act a certain way that fits our images of how 
they should be. 

The uniqueness of each individual complicates the issue, but it 
does not absolve us from the responsibilities that come from knowl- 
edge even quite limited knowledge. On the one hand, it is not 
ethical to try to manipulate or force growth. On the other, when we 
understand the importance of soulmaking and of some generalizations 
about the patterns of our interactions with the gods and goddesses 
who help us with this task, we are responsible for being midwives 
to each other's development in every way that we (respectfully) can. 

Many of our institutions and our personal relationships hold people 
back from their journeys. Business, through advertising, plays on 
human insecurity and fear in order to sell products. Educators, min- 
isters, and psychologists often fail to teach us the skills we need to 



HOW TO USE THIS BOOK / 161 

develop on our own because they need us to come back to ensure 
their livelihood. An unhealthy dependency thereby is maintained. 
Lovers, spouses, friends, and parents many times discourage change 
and growth when they are fearful of being left behind. 

We are responsible for dealing with our own fears that no one 
will buy our product if we do not create an artificial need for it, that 
no one will come to us for services if they learn self-reliance, or 
that no one will love us if they are not dependent upon us. It is not 
ethical to slow down other people's growth because we cannot or 
will not deal with our fears. If we do not, in truth, have anything 
to offer that anyone wants or needs, it is time to take our own jour- 
neys and get a clearer sense of our vocation and of the identity of 
the lovers, friends, or jobs that are appropriate for us. 

With knowledge comes the responsibility for creating environ- 
ments that encourage growth and development. Those of us who are 
political, intellectual, or organizational leaders easily can see that we 
are responsible for the environment in our organization. However, 
everyone helps create environments. No leader does it alone. At the 
very least, if you feel powerless at work, in school, and in most of 
your institutional environments to set a tone, you still have a sub- 
stantial role in the creation of an atmosphere in the family, in your 
daily interactions with co workers, and with your friends. 

People need environments that are safe and supportive, in which 
they feel valued as unique individuals, in which their souls are hon- 
ored and they are not seen as objects to be used and tossed aside. 
These environments also must provide a realistic level of challenge 
enough so that people will not be bored or stay stuck in their ways 
but not too much so that success is impossible. Furthermore, people 
grow in places where honesty can be counted on and where integrity 
and appropriate assertiveness are expected and rewarded. And people 
need to be cared about enough that they will not be allowed to get 
away with being dishonest, manipulative, irresponsible, or passive- 
aggressive. Healthy environments include caring but firm confron- 
tation and consequences for behavior that is harmful to others or to 
the group. 

Finally, people need environments characterized by a shared com- 
mitment to personal growth and that provide ongoing education and 
discussion. Who, watching a man drown, would not throw him a 



162 / THE HERO WITHIN 

rope? Who would watch a woman overpowered by a rapist and not 
intervene or get help? No one with any integrity and compassion! 

People are drowning in their ignorance and are overpowered by 
the destructive stereotypes and myths they have internalized. If you 
are a therapist, responsibility means not always being a fence post. 
Sometimes people need to be educated about other ideas and ways 
to think about things. If teachers, leaders, and employers have all 
the answers, students, group members, and workers will not learn 
to find their own. Alternatively, leaving them to struggle entirely 
alone is irresponsible; they may not survive the challenge. People 
need help, and the most pressing need they have is for their souls 
to be recognized and honored. 

If you feel you have progressed to a point where you wish to think 
about how these ideas can be used to help others (rather than simply 
pulled out if the need arises), and especially if these ideas have 
relevance to your work, you may be interested in the brief hints that 
follow to practitioners about how to use the concepts in this book in 
your work. 

Suggestions to Practitioners 

If you are in the helping professions, you can use this book as a 
diagnostic tool to help identify where your clients, parishioners, or 
students are, and to formulate an appropriate intervention to enhance 
their growth and effectiveness. It also can be used as a bridge be- 
tween different schools of thought. For instance, political conser- 
vatives tend to imagine the poor as Wanderers (that is, if they do 
not see them as scoundrels) and hence assume the best approach is 
to leave them alone. Liberals are more likely to think of the poor as 
Orphans who do need help. Either could be true in a particular sit- 
uation. The task is to find out what approach is needed with different 
individuals or groups based on where they truly are. Such recognition 
could help articulate policies that enable people eventually to become 
productive, happy, and prosperous citizens. 

Different approaches to faith development also are appropriate to 
various stages. It is useful to tell an Orphan simply to pray and have 
faith in Jesus, but to someone just entering the Warrior stage, it 
makes more sense to encourage spiritual discipline (possibly medi- 



HOW TO USE THIS BOOK / 163 

tation, study, even fasting) and/or to work hard to get what he or 
she wants. It is not until someone has developed some discipline and 
assertiveness that it makes much sense to talk about claiming abun- 
dance here and now. 

It is useful to have people tell their life stories to you at any of 
these stages, but what they highlight at different times will reveal 
what skills they are mastering. For example, the first time people 
tell their story they may emphasize their victimization; later they may 
highlight their sense of isolation; still later, they may talk about how 
much they have accomplished and what a struggle it all has been. 
Then, these same individuals though after years of therapy or anal- 
ysis may focus on all the gifts they have been given and how for- 
tunate they have been after all. 

People at all stages need to be encouraged to experience their 
feelings fully and learn the requisite lessons from them. Yet the feel- 
ings themselves will change, even about the same events in their 
lives. Many people who struggle to confront and allow their pain, 
grief, and fear may find to their amazement that they have the same 
trouble fully feeling their joy. 

We run into problems in our culture because our minds are cut 
off from communion with our souls. To get back in touch with our 
souls we need to clean out old, repressed, compacted feelings that 
block access. Anne Schaef s process therapy is the most effective 
form of cathartic therapy I have yet found that helps people clear 
away blocks so they can be open to truth from their beings. It is 
even more effective when combined with body work to release emo- 
tions held in our bodies. Some people learn to listen to themselves 
through meditation, or analyzing their dreams, or through art therapy. 
The form can vary, but the goal is the same connection with our 
inner being. Others who are not as damaged as most people in our 
culture can do so just by learning to pay attention to their minds, 
bodies, and dreams if they are taught the skills to do so. 

Different forms of therapy are best for people working with par- 
ticular archetypal patterns. For instance, people entering the Warrior 
phase need assertiveness skills and other behaviorally based strategies 
to learn to act effectively in the world. They also need to process 
their anger. Wanderers benefit from analytic and emotionally cathartic 
strategies to clear out old patterns and find out who they truly are. 



164 / THE HERO WITHIN 

People ready to enter the Magician stage can be held back by 
rational, analytical forms of therapy that may see the Magician's 
interest in transcendent reality, intuition, and alternative realities as 
escapist, if not downright crazy. To be effective with this group, 
therapists must be Magicians as well or they will not be able to help 
in this process. Guided fantasy work, dream analysis, meditation, 
and other techniques that can help clients gain direct access to the 
voices from their own souls are key here. This is the point at which 
people begin to take conscious responsibility for their own evolution, 
and doing so requires this kind of direct access to messages from 
our beings. 

The creation of rituals can be facilitative here, too. Most of our 
lives are weighed down with personal and institutional rituals, habits, 
and conventional ways of doing things that are anachronistic and, 
when unexamined, weigh us down. Developing communal and in- 
dividual rituals that emerge out of the spontaneous present needs of 
our souls helps us reprogram our conscious minds to live our soul's 
purpose. Such rituals can include spiritual ceremonies, or the ways 
we interact in our workplaces or families, as well as what we do 
when we get up in the morning or when we first get home from 
work. It matters whether our corning home ritual is to rush in and 
yell at the kids or to give them a hug and sit down and find out 
about their day; whether we throw dinner together or are conscious 
of cooking as a sensuous process; or whether we take some time for 
ourselves to get centered or just fix a strong drink to calm down. 
All these are ritualized habits that inform the daily quality of our 
lives, just as surely as religious rites we practice or invent. 

When people are learning to embody the Magician archetype, they 
are ready to take the kind of conscious responsibility for their lives 
that means making conscious choices about their rituals and habits. 

Fortunately, whether teachers or therapists, we tend to attract peo- 
ple similar to ourselves, and we usually are best at helping people 
through whatever stage we are just leaving. Noting whom you attract 
and what their issues are is a good way of identifying the passage 
you are getting ready to complete. We do, inevitably, teach what we 
are trying to learn. 

Teachers, employers, and group leaders can use their knowledge 



HOW TO USE THIS BOOK / 165 

of these archetypal patterns to be more effective in the classroom, 
workplace, or organization. For example, Orphans need rules, reg- 
ulations, structure, and a sense that someone cares about them. They 
also need strict enforcement of these rules and accountability. They 
benefit from team situations in which they are motivated to be re- 
sponsible by care for others (or simply by peer pressure). 

People who are habitually responsible and who do their work as 
they promise no matter what the cost to them have proven they can 
be trusted. They may, however, become confirmed Martyrs unless 
they are encouraged to be more autonomous and to make original 
contributions to learning, the organization, or the group. Martyrs 
need to be encouraged to become ambitious and to climb the ladder 
of success. (This is especially important for women, who often get 
stuck as the faithful, long-suffering, but unfulfilled employee or club 
member, or the dutiful, conscientious, but unimaginative student, 
because no one has expected more from them.) 

Wanderers, on the other hand, should not be pressured into team 
work. They need latitude to find their own vocational voice or to 
study what interests them. When they do find something they can 
get excited about, it is helpful to get them warrioring, i.e., selling 
their idea (or teaching it) to others. 

Warriors respond to risk and competition (which may put off peo- 
ple in other stages), but at some point they may get burned out if 
they are not exposed to any other way of doing things. The energy 
of people in the initial Warrior stage can be harnessed to work to- 
gether against a common enemy or competitor. This keeps them from 
turning their anger on one another. Later, however, this group can 
benefit by learning listening skills, mediation techniques, and other 
strategies to help solve problems collaborate vely, and also from shar- 
ing feelings, fears, and vulnerabilities as well as their thoughts with 
their colleagues. If you can get them to learn to be candid and to 
act on their own convictions while also respecting others, your busi- 
ness, organization, or classroom will flourish. It also is at this point 
that nonhierarchical and alternative structures can work well. 

Finally, if you want your organization, business, or classroom to 
be magical, encourage all involved to listen to their inner voices 
about what they and the group should do, and you will be amazed 



166 / THE HERO WITHIN 

at the results. When everyone shares his or her wisdom and insights 
freely with one another, it is possible for you all to be more sane, 
happy, wise, and prosperous than you imagined possible. 

If we are aware of these archetypes in raising our children, more- 
over, we can encourage development in all relevant learning tasks 
early on. At present, society actually retards development by for- 
mulating questions dualistically (dependence versus control; nurtur- 
ance versus autonomy and freedom) and by providing cultural images 
only of the more primitive modes of the Martyr, Wanderer, and War- 
rior archetypes. Moreover, we fail to teach children that they can be 
Magicians. They see no Magicians except in escapist fiction, which 
we take great pains to explain away as fiction, not fact. Providing 
children with images and stories of the more highly developed and 
sophisticated modes of all the archetypes can help them waste less 
time. I suspect the next generation need not go through all the stages 
of growth within each archetype. They could benefit from our jour- 
neys and have a significant head start into a saner, healthier world. 

Because this journey is not really linear, we could develop all these 
skills concurrently. The hero within is not just a Magician, but some- 
one who has learned fully the lessons of all the archetypes described 
here. The ultimate gift of each of the stages helps the hero live in 
loving relationship with all things. As we experience the lessons of 
each archetype, we learn many skills that help us in this regard: to 
ask respectfully for what we need, from God, each other, and the 
natural world; to give away to each other and to the universe as a 
statement of our willingness to receive; to choose and value our- 
selves, for until we do that, loving our neighbor as ourselves means 
little; and to fight for ourselves, our loved ones, the species, and the 
planet against anything (or anyone) that threatens to lessen life and 
vitality for all of us. Finally, when we learn to celebrate and affirm 
all we are, and all we daily are given, to love ourselves, each other, 
the planet, God, and the potential of life in the universe, we move 
into the new age. 



EXERCISES FOR 
THE HERO WITHIN* 

In response to queries by readers of the first edition of The Hero 
Within, the following exercises have been provided to help you gain 
access to the heroes that lie within you and to reap the rewards of 
encountering each of these archetypes at different levels of sophis- 
tication and depth. Many of the exercises are designed for journaling, 
so it would be helpful before beginning them to secure a journal or 
notebook. Write answers to the questions in it, and use it to record 
your experiences doing the more experiential exercises. If writing is 
not a preferred means of expression for you, you may wish instead 
to answer in pictures, through movement, by talking into a tape deck 
or directly to a friend, or any other means that comes more naturally 
to you, 

Other exercises are designed to be shared with a friend or confi- 
dant. It would be ideal if two or more of you agreed to do the same 
exercises and to share with one another. Failing that, however, it 
would work perfectly well to share with someone who is not also 
completing the exercises. Some people prefer to share with their 
therapist, minister, rabbi, or some other professional rather than sim- 
ply a friend. That's fine, too. Or, if you do not want to share, com- 
plete the journal assignments, the daydreams, fantasies, and medi- 
tations, and those activities that can be adapted for individual use. 
Or, you can share with an imaginary friend, as many children do. 

In doing the fantasies, daydreams, and meditations, find a place 
where you can be comfortable and uninterrupted for about thirty min- 
utes. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down. You may wish to have 
quiet music in the background or complete quiet. Take some time 

* It would be impossible to acknowledge or even trace all the people, books, and 
workshops that have influenced the development of the exercises included here. How- 
ever, I want to thank especially David Oldfield, Director of the Midway Center for 
Creative Imagination at the Psychiatric Institute Foundation of Washington, D.C., 
whose Creative Imagination Methods course greatly influenced these exercises. I 
would also like to thank participants in the certification course I now teach through 
the Midway Center for their feedback on the exercises and their general support and 
encouragement about the importance of this approach. 



168 / THE HERO WITHIN 

to breathe slowly and deeply, and then relax your body by sequen- 
tially tensing and relaxing each part, starting with the toes and pro- 
gressing to the scalp. When you feel completely relaxed, read the 
exercise through until you remember its main points. Be as creative 
as you wish in doing the exercise. It's fine to take liberties, and you 
will definitely need to fill in details. When you have completed the 
exercise, spend a few minutes in deep, unprogrammed relaxation 
before going back to daily activities. 

Most of the activities included (whether to be done alone, with 
another person, or in a group) are for people at any level of devel- 
opment. Each section, however, includes one advanced activity de- 
signed only for those who have developed all six archetypes to some 
degree and are quite highly developed in the archetype in question. 

Some readers are already discussing The Hero Within material in 
classes or small groups and might find it useful to try doing the 
exercises together. Other readers may wish to form Heroes Within 
support groups, groups of three to seven members who pledge to 
provide support for one another's heroic journeys. The exercises that 
follow can form the basis for the experiential components of such 
groups. If you wish to start a Heroes Within support group, it is 
ideal to invite others people you would like to spend time with 
to meet with you. Tell them what you plan to do and whom you 
plan to invite. Make it clear whether you plan to lead the group or 
whether you expect rotating leadership (each person leads for a ses- 
sion) or shared leadership (some or all the members share respon- 
sibility for keeping the group healthy and on the agenda). Useful 
guidelines for group members are included at the end of the exercises 
(see Appendix A). 

Whether you do the exercises alone or with a friend, a profes- 
sional, or a group, the goal is to help you gain the treasure associated 
with each of the six archetypes described in The Hero Within. Feel 
free to modify exercises or to add or substitute others. There is no 
need to do them all. Do the ones that appeal to you. The issue is 
not to follow the directions exactly but to gain access to your inner 
heroes. 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 169 



Innocent 



Journal Exercises 

1. Make a list of people and things you depend on and trust 
those who do not, generally, let you down. The list may include 
providers of basic services who tend to get taken for granted 
(such as the postal service and the postal carrier who consis- 
tently delivers mail on time), as well as the friends, coworkers, 
family, and others who are close to you. 

2. Where and with whom do you feel safest? 

3. When and where are you most dependable and trustworthy? 

4. Think back over your life to times that felt almost idyllic. For 
people from happy families, this might include their early child- 
hood years. It might also include a time you spent with a lover. 
It might have been a therapy situation or personal growth ex- 
perience that seems especially safe. Or it might be time shared 
with a friend, the excitement of a new job, or just being alone 
in a favorite place. Describe one or more such incidents in your 
life. 



Daydream I 

Nap Time 

Imagine you are a young child say in kindergarten getting 
ready to take a nap. You may dawdle a bit color, play until the 
teacher insists you lie down. Like most young children, however, 
you resist sleeping and begin fantasizing about the great things you 
are going to do and be and experience when you grow up. As if you 
were a little child, do not censor your imagination because you think 
something is inappropriate or impossible. If you want to daydream 
about running off to join the circus or anything else, indulge yourself. 
Just be certain to allow the daydream to be as rich and detailed as 
it can be. 



170 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Daydream II 

The Perfect Childhood 

In your daydream allow yourself to experience a perfect childhood 
where you have everything you need: love, possessions, security, 
stimulation, encouragement to your growth in every possible way. 
Allow yourself some time to process your feelings. Be aware that 
no matter what the reality of your actual childhood, you can give 
yourself a perfect childhood anytime you wish in your fantasy life. 

Fantasy 

My Safe Place 

Imagine yourself traveling through time and space, taking what- 
ever form of transportation appeals to you a horse, a camel, a car, 
a spaceship. Allow yourself to imagine yourself traveling. Notice 
your surroundings and notice yourself and what you are wearing and 
how you look. (You may take on any form you like.) Your desti- 
nation is a totally safe and secure place. When you get there, notice 
what your safe place looks like. Be aware (in fantasy) of how it feels 
and smells, and of any sounds there. Notice if you are alone or with 
other people or animals. If others are there, who are they? Take a 
few minutes to enjoy being in this place. When you are ready to 
leave, travel back the way you came. 

Once you have discovered your safe place, you can go back any- 
time you wish. You may wish to do so, at first, only when you are 
alone. In time, as you grow proficient in getting there easily and 
quickly, you can go there in situations and in times in which you 
feel threatened. 



Meditation 

The Beauty of Creation 

Meditate on the beauty of creation. Open up to remembering the 
miracle of a mountain stream, a soaring bird, an innocent young 
child. One by one, allow yourself to focus on what to you is beau- 
tiful, inspiring, and joyous. 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 171 

Activities 

1. Share the above exercises with others. 

2. Often we simply assume that others should be fair, kind, com- 
petent, and even generous. When they aren't, we are very dis- 
appointed. To move your focus onto the positive element of 
life and away from life's disappointments, stop taking the pos- 
itive for granted. Make a habit of saying thank you for things 
you might otherwise take for granted. Thank the salesperson 
who smiles at you for his cheerfulness, the waitress for serving 
you, your coworkers for work well done, your spouse for being 
supportive. Reinforcing positive behavior not only encourages 
more of the same in others, it also focuses your attention on 
the positive aspects of life. 

3. In the same spirit, remember to thank yourself for all the things 
you do that are right, competent, kind, etc. Thank yourself in 
advance for the good things you plan to do. When you mess 
up, do not berate yourself. Thank yourself for your good in- 
tentions. Think through how you might do better the next time 
and then thank yourself for taking the time to think how you 
might improve. 

4. Go to the zoo or park, fly a kite, blow bubbles, buy an ice 
cream cone, sing silly songs, play childish games and pranks, 
and generally indulge in any other activities that pleasantly re- 
mind you of the innocence of childhood. 

5. With a partner, do a trust walk. Close your eyes and allow your 
partner to lead you by the hand. The other person is charged 
with being certain you do not trip or run into anything and 
otherwise ensuring that you are safe and unharmed. The guide 
can also create pleasant experiences, such as putting rose petals 
in your hand to feel. Such experiences should be designed to 
enhance the sense of safety and support. 

6. Play games, such as Simon Says or Follow the Leader, where 
everyone unquestioningly does what the leader says to do. (Re- 
member, it is the leader's job to be trustworthy.) 

Advanced Activity 

Imagine that you live in a perfect world and all difficulties, all 
evil, all pain are really illusionary that the human species has ere- 



172 / THE HERO WITHIN 

ated them just to provide drama and interest in life. You can, if you 
choose, decide to return to Eden and live in a world where everyone 
and everything is safe and can be trusted. This does not mean walk- 
ing in front of a car or jumping off a cliff. Even in Eden, natural 
laws need to be respected. It does mean that you choose to move to 
a deeper level of functioning where you recognize that everyone, at 
the deepest level, strives to do good and to be loving. For this reason, 
spend a day in which you refuse to judge anyone or anything by 
its surface appearance of threat. Respond on the deeper level of lov- 
ing connection rather than on the level of appearance and see what 
happens. 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 173 



Orphan 



Journal Exercises 

1 . Make a list of people and things (beliefs, causes, organizations, 
institutions) that have betrayed, abandoned, victimized, dis- 
appointed, or hurt you. 

2. Where and with whom do you feel most powerful? Describe 
the situation and how you feel. 

3. Make a list of people who have felt that you betrayed, aban- 
doned, victimized, disappointed, or hurt them. Would you 
agree with them? 

4. When and where have you betrayed, abandoned, victimized, 
disappointed, or hurt yourself? For example, when have you 
failed to live up to your own ideals or values? When have you 
chosen not to follow your own heart? When have you been 
unwilling to get help when you needed it? When have you used 
drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, etc., abusively? 

5. What are your addictions or obsessions? Any behavior that di- 
verts us from confronting an unpleasant circumstance, aware- 
ness, or emotion may be addictive or obsessive, especially if 
we feel little or no control over that emotion. Most people are 
aware of drug and alcohol addiction, and many are also aware 
of relationship and food addictions. However, shopping, wor- 
rying, nonstop talking, overwork, and even virtuous activities 
like giving and meditating all can be addictive or obsessive 
behaviors if they are used to avoid feeling pain, depression, or 
anger. List any behaviors you have that you believe have an 
addictive or obsessive quality. 

6. When and where have you reached out for help? What hap- 
pened when you did so? 

7. Itemize the way the world around you is unsafe and/or unfair. 
Note the threats you see to your own well-being as well as to 
society as a whole. 



174 / THE HERO WITHIN 

Daydream 
Rescue 

Allow yourself to indulge in fantasies of rescue, whether it is 
"someday my prince (or princess) will come," or dreams of the per- 
fect therapist, the great boss, or the political leader who will restore 
Camelot. Allow yourself to experience being taken care of by this 
caring, benevolent, and powerful person. Then imagine yourself be- 
coming like that person. What does that feel like for you? 

Fantasy 
Revisioning the Past 

Imagine a huge rainbow coming into the room where you are feel- 
ing totally relaxed and calm. You are so relaxed you feel light as a 
feather, and you begin floating up into each color of the rainbow so 
that you are completely bathed in turn by red, then orange, then 
yellow, then green, then blue, and finally purple light. The rainbow 
softly deposits you on a white cloud, on which you can travel through 
time. Go back to some incident in your life during which you felt 
orphaned, abandoned, victimized, betrayed, or otherwise hurt. Stay 
a bit distant, if you can, as if you were watching a movie, but be 
free to identify with the main character (you) and feel sympathy 
(which may lead to crying or otherwise expressing empathic emo- 
tion). 

Then, when you have finished, imagine you have just been em- 
powered to reshoot the movie and to update the plot. This allows 
you to reshoot the movie the way you wish it had happened. Change 
anything you wish: how you acted, how other people acted, and so 
forth. It is perfectly fine to invent a figure to rescue you. Keep re- 
shooting the movie until you are completely satisfied with it. Then 
go to the place where movies are stored and throw away the earlier 
version of the film and substitute your new film. Return via your 
cloud and the rainbow, only this time allow each color to flow 
through you, healing any residual pain you might feel at the initial 
memory. As you proceed through purple, blue, green, yellow, or- 
ange, and red light, allow the healing to be total. 

Once you have completed this exercise, remember you are free to 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 175 

return and watch this new film anytime you like. Anytime you feel 
tempted to go back over the earlier, painful version, remember that 
it has been replaced with an updated version and watch that one 
instead. Remembering past disappointments, over and over, rein- 
forces negative beliefs about the world. In shooting a new "movie" 
you are creating alternative mental circuitry and hence new beliefs 
about the world and what it might offer you. You may wish to repeat 
this exercise with a different memory, but do not do so more than 
twice a week. 



Meditation 

Turning Life Over to a Higher Power 

Reflect on your sense of powerlessness all the things you have 
tried that have failed; the times you have been let down or let yourself 
down. Let yourself really feel and acknowledge the extent of your 
vulnerability and helplessness. Then imagine there is some higher or 
deeper power in the universe. Let yourself open up to the image that 
is satisfying to you. If it is more satisfying to you to have that image 
be old and male, let it be old and male. If it is more empowering 
to imagine this force as female, then let it be female. If you'd rather 
it have no gender or no personified presence, imagine it as an energy 
force, as nature, as a scientific force such as evolution, as anything 
that feels right and believable to you. Some may even prefer to image 
this power as their own, inner, higher, or deeper self. 

Imagine that this higher or deeper power has wisdom far beyond 
your own or any human's. Therefore, if you feel any anger against 
this power, simply let it go, knowing you do not know the deeper 
reasons behind events. Finally, recognizing the greater wisdom and 
power of this higher power, allow yourself to turn over control of 
your life to him or her or it and to rest in the security of knowing 
that your life is now in the care of a higher, wiser, more powerful 
being than your ordinary conscious self. 

Activities 

1. Share the exercises above with one other person or a group, 

2. Anytime we feel orphaned we need support. Many support 



176 / THE HERO WITHIN 

groups exist for problems related to ways we have been or- 
phaned or have orphaned ourselves. Examples include twelve- 
step groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Adult 
Children of Alcoholics groups, Overeaters Anonymous, Emo- 
tions Anonymous, Parents Anonymous), women's conscious- 
ness-raising groups, men's groups, or therapy groups. Research 
the groups that might be available in your area to provide you 
with the support you need. Join the appropriate group for you 
and allow yourself to have the help each one of us deserves in 
working out our problems. 

3. The twelve steps, which were originally designed for alcohol- 
ics, work very well with all kinds of issues related to feeling 
powerless over one's own behavior or that of others. See the 
copy of the twelve steps reprinted in Appendix C. In step one, 
which tells you to admit your powerlessness over alcohol, sub- 
stitute for alcohol the word that best describes what you feel 
powerless over. Do the meditation above to help you find your 
higher power, if you do not subscribe to a particular religious 
belief system. If your higher power is not a "he," substitute 
the appropriate pronoun. Then follow the steps as indicated, 
remembering that with the twelfth step, which calls you to 
reach out to others in need, you would be reaching out either 
to anyone in need or to others who feel vulnerable and pow- 
erless in the same way that you do. If your sense of orphaning 
is very great, it is best to do this with the support of a group, 
where possible. 

4. Whatever else you do to deal with your sense of powerlessness 
and victimization, it is essential to really feel and express your 
pain, disappointment, and anger. One of the most effective 
ways to do so is direct catharsis. You can do this alone, but 
most people feel safer with at least one other supportive person 
to encourage the process. Find a private, safe place and simply 
allow your emotions to be expressed. Sometimes just allowing 
yourself to breathe deeply (since most of us repress our feelings 
by some level of holding our breath) is enough to get us in 
touch with our feelings. Feel free to sob out loud, to yell, to 
beat on pillows or a bed. Do whatever you need for catharsis 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 177 

(as long as you don't hurt yourself or someone else). Let the 
pain out and take as long as you need to do so. Let yourself 
experience more than one emotion if your first feeling leads to 
others. (Caution: Be sure the person or people with you as you 
do this cathartic exercise are not those whom you feel caused 
your pain.) 

5. Express your pain and rage through some kind of artistic 
expression: a poem, a song, a picture, a weaving, a sculpture, 
a well-crafted journal entry, a dance, or whatever means of 
creative expression comes naturally to you. 

6. Role play with your group, one other person, or alone with 
a mirror ways to confront someone who has hurt you or let 
you down. Try to find ways to express how bad you feel without 
being blaming. (Not "You are bad. . . /" but k4 When you. . . . 
I feel. . . .") Allow yourself to benefit from feedback from the 
individual or group or your own observations as you watch in 
a mirror. Keep repeating the role play until you feel satisfied 
with what you are saying and how you are presenting yourself. 
Then you may wish to confront the actual people or person 
who mistreated you. (Note: It is much easier to confront some- 
one who has hurt you, appropriately or directly, if you first 
take the time to express your pain fully as described in the third 
activity and then take time to do a role play.) 

7. This exercise is best done only after several of the preceding 
activities have been attempted, so that it is not simply a way 
to bury your pain. After you have expressed your pain and 
found constructive ways to grapple with the situation that 
caused the pain, this final exercise provides a capstone cathartic 
experience. 

Narrate the incidents that caused you such a sense of pain 
and victimization as funny stories or anecdotes. Tell friends, 
your group, your journal, or yourself in the mirror. If it is hard 
for you to do this, you may not have fully expressed or dealt 
with your pain, so go back to some of the previous exercises. 
If it is relatively easy for you to do so, allow yourself to laugh 
out loud and to enjoy the absurdity of the story as you tell it. 
The essence of humor is often the simple absurdity of being 



178 / THE HERO WITHIN 

merely human, fallable, and vulnerable. Laughing at ourselves 
is one way we learn it is okay to make mistakes or to be vul- 
nerable in what is sometimes a very difficult world. 



Advanced Exercise 

As you move through the world notice times that you close off to 
the suffering of others blaming them, for instance, for their own 
plight. If you find yourself doing so, it is a clear sign that you are 
still repressing to some degree your own inner Orphan. Go inside 
and see what is there that mirrors the person you are having difficulty 
accepting into your heart. The sign that you have adequately ac- 
knowledged your inner Orphan will be a softening toward that in- 
dividual or type of individual. (Note: This does not mean that you 
will not exercise reasonable limits with this person, and it does not 
necessarily mean that you need to feel an obligation to help him or 
her. It does mean that you will restore your ability to feel empathy 
and compassion in the situation, and it will allow you to determine 
whether it is necessary or appropriate for you to help.) 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 179 

Wanderer 



Journal Experiences 

1. When and where do you feel alienated and lonely? Describe 
this as fully as you can, looking to understand what part of 
you feels shut out of that situation or interchange. 

2. Where, when, and with whom do you hide or deemphasize 
aspects of who you are? What are you hesitant or afraid to have 
people know you? What do you imagine happening if you al- 
lowed those aspects to emerge in that place, at that time, or 
with those people? 

3. How do you explore the world and your options in it? Do you 
travel, do you read or study, do you "interview" others? What 
are you seeking to learn? 

4. Are there people and situations in your life right now that you 
should leave in order to be true to who you are? If so, what 
are these situations and who are these people? How are they 
limiting or harming you? 

5. The initial dawning of what is right for us often comes from 
recognizing what is not right. What do you know about the 
options that are wrong for you? List as many as you can. Then 
try listing the opposites, or the most likely alternatives to things 
that are wrong for you. For example, if you have listed smoking 
dope as wrong for you, you might write a drug-free life as its 
opposite. However, if you have listed traveling to Europe as 
wrong for you, you might want to write either staying home 
or traveling to Asia or somewhere else. When you have com- 
pleted the second list, check as many of the opposites or al- 
ternatives as seem genuinely right for you. With those that do 
not feel right, play around with other alternatives even if 
some of these seem absurd or unusual seeing if you can find 
one that fits. If you cannot with reasonable ease find an alter- 
native that fits for you, leave the task, recognizing that this 
area may be one of the question areas in your life. Or, some- 
times, we need to let go of things without substituting anything 



180 / THE HERO WITHIN 

else, and in this way create more space and openness in our 
lives. 

6. Make a new list of everything you know about yourself what 
you like, what you enjoy, and what you are yearning or striving 
for. 

7. Notice the addictive or obsessive behaviors you identified while 
doing the Orphan journal exercises. Many times our addictions 
or obsessions give us hints in symbolic form of what quest we 
may be avoiding. For example, alcoholism and drug addiction 
are calls to take a spiritual journey and may well also call one 
to integrate the Dionysian element appropriately into one's life 
through finding healthy ways to get high, such as long-distance 
running, meditation, ritual, dance, or drumming. Workaholism 
is a call from the self to stop working more and enjoying it 
less and to find one's real vocation. Love or relationship addic- 
tion masks a call from Eros and Aphrodite to become priests 
or pristesses of love and to channel love freely, especially, 
initially, toward oneself. Obsessive talking calls one to the jour- 
ney of finding and expressing the deeper truth of one's heart 
and as part of that process to begin to genuinely listen to what 
one is saying. Free-associate about your addictive or obsessive 
behaviors to see if you can gain clues about what quest calls 
you. 

8. Make a list of things you have always wanted to do. Pick out 
one or two to focus on and elaborate. How do you imagine it 
would feel to do these things? 

9. Do you believe it is okay to be special, unique, important? If 
not, what would have to change to make it all right? 

Daydream I 

My Perfect Life 

Imagine a perfect day or hour or week sometime in the future 
when you are doing everything you would love to be doing. Imagine 
the setting, the company, and your activities. Imagine what you look 
like, how you are dressed, and how you feel. Be as specific as you 
can, and include as much sensory data as possible (what does it look 
like, feel like, taste like, smell like, sound like?). 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 181 

Daydream II 

Questing in the Twentieth Century 

Begin by imagining that you are a modern knight going on a quest. 
However, everything needs to be updated, since modern knights do 
not usually wear armor, carry swords and shields, and ride trusty 
steeds. Indeed, few even publicly acknowledge that they seek the 
grail. However, recognizing that you are, in essence, a questing 
knight in modern dress, let yourself daydream freely about what 
might constitute your armor. What do you use for a shield? What 
do you use for a weapon? For example, you may use a certain way 
of dressing as armor, or you may shut off emotionally and armor 
yourself. Your weapon may be verbal or you may use the law or 
rules or a tendency to blow up. Your shield could be a certain social 
role or job that asserts your status and identity in the world and 
protects you from attack. Some people even use their infirmities as 
shields or defenses to keep off others' demands. 

What is your steed? What supports and aids your quest? You may 
answer this in a very literal way a car, a plane, a motorcycle, for 
instance. Your answer might also take metaphysical forms; perhaps 
you are supported in your travels by riding a particular belief system 
or career path. 

What is the grail you are seeking? Imagine what it looks like. Is 
it wealth? Success? Inner peace? A stronger sense of identity or vo- 
cation? What is it for you? Allow yourself to imagine the attainment 

of your grail. Let yourself see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, smell it 

to know on the most sensory level what it would feel like to find 
your grail. After having done so, you may wish to swear fealty to 
your quest and to searching faithfully for the grail you desire. 

Fantasy 

The Call to the Quest 

Imagine yourself in an ordinary, everyday environment going 
about your work when suddenly you experience a "call to the quest." 
Perhaps as with knights of old, a grail appears and no one can see 
it but you. Perhaps you hear the voice of a deity speaking to you. 
Maybe you experience a call from an animal (which could be your 



182 / THE HERO WITHIN 

totem animal), a person (who could be your guide or mentor on the 
quest), or anything at all. Whatever form the call takes, allow your- 
self to imagine that you leave everyday reality and move into an 
imaginary world where spirits and totem animals and dragons and 
grails are real and you can see and hear them. Let whoever or what- 
ever calls you show you the way there and follow it. Be aware if 
you are called to the mountains, the seashore, underground, to a 
forest or castle, to outer space, or to any other place or time. Be as 
focused as you can so that you attend to and recognize the landscape. 
Explore as much as you wish, but when you return be careful to 
leave the way you came and to take nothing with you. 

Meditation 

Heeding the Call of the Gods 

One respectful way to respond to any of ones's pathologies (phys- 
ical and mental illness or limitation, addictions, and obsessions) and 
to any of the tragic events of life (deaths, abandonments, misfortunes) 
is to see them as calls from the gods to begin a new quest. Take a 
few minutes, in quiet meditation, to open up to awareness about the 
pathologies, tragedies, or other wounds in your life and how they 
might be calls from the gods. Ask the god or goddess who called 
you in this way to speak to you and to provide wisdom about the 
path you need to take to find yourself and your identity at a deeper 
level 

Activities 

1. Share the exercises above with an individual or group. 

2. Go back to your list (journal exercise no. 8) of things you've 
wanted to do but haven't. Begin allowing yourself to do some 
of these things. Take that trip you always wanted to take. Sign 
up for that course that seems inviting. Try out new ways of 
interacting with others. 

3. Begin weeding out objects, people, and activities from your 
life that no longer fit you. Create room for more genuinely 
fulfilling and satisfying possessions, lovers, friends, work, or 
hobbies. 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 183 

4. Allow yourself to find out more about yourself. You might wish 
to keep a regular journal, to sign up for personal growth and 
exploration workshops, to develop the habit of taking long 
walks, practicing meditation, or otherwise gaining quiet for 
self-contemplation. You might find it useful to take one or more 
of the many psychological tests that help you learn about your 
psychological type preferences, your career interests, and so 
forth. 

5. With a companion, play the mirror game. First, standing face 
to face, you move and your friend acts like a mirror, trying to 
move exactly as you do down to the smallest nuance. (Don't 
try to trick your friend. Keep movements relatively slow so 
they can be followed.) Second, reverse. Let your friend move 
and you be the mirror. 

6. This time be a mirror to your friend with words. Try to tell 
your friend as many positive things as you can about what you 
see about him or her. These can include physical, emotional, 
and mental qualities or behaviors as well as the quality of his 
or her interaction with others. It can also include what you think 
he or she might be striving or hoping for what his or her 
quest is about. Your friend can respond with acknowledgment, 
a thank you, or a query but is not allowed to say it isn't true 
or to say anything that is self-critical. Let your friend respond 
and then switch roles. Let your friend tell you what's right 
about you. 

7. Decide to the best of your ability what you want in your life 
right now and share that with an individual or group. Ask them 
to brainstorm and help you think of ways to get what you want. 
Resist any desire to play *Tes, but" and simply take in their 
suggestions and ideas. Follow up on any ideas that you wish 
to put into practice. 

Advanced Exercise 

This exercise is for people who have a strong sense of identity 
and vocation and wish to refine and deepen their awareness of what 
is really theirs to do at this time in their lives. Spend some time 
contemplating the simple truth that if each of us does what is really 



184 / THE HERO WITHIN 

ours to do, no one will have to work so hard. If we tap into our 
deepest wisdom, we will know what is essential for us to do and 
what is work that belongs to others (whether or not they are doing 
it). We cannot compensate for people who are not being true to their 
inner selves, and hence however hard they may be working at other 
tasks not making the contribution that would be uniquely theirs. 
We can only do our part. If this truth resonates for you, choose a 
certain length of time that you are willing to commit to this exper- 
iment at least a day and perhaps a week. With each possibility for 
acting during this period, take a moment to reflect, "Is this mine to 
do?" If it is, do it. If not, resist the desire to act. Or, if you know 
whose work it is, you might gently alert them of the opportunity. 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 185 



Warrior 

Journal Exercises 

1. Outline your current goals and objectives for your life. What 
do you want to achieve and, practically, what do you need in 
order to succeed in reaching your goals? 

2. Note what or who feels like an opponent, an obstacle, or a 
dragon in your life. Might these obstacles, opponents, or 
dragons keep you from achieving your goals? How might you 
overcome these obstacles, opponents, or dragons? What strat- 
egies might you use that would enable you to proceed toward 
achieving them? 

3. Do you have any inner resistance to asserting your own will, 
values, and desires or toward striving to get what you want out 
of life? If so, what is the nature of these inner dragons or 
obstacles? What strategies might you use to slay or tame them? 

4. In what situation or situations are you struggling or fighting? 
How does it feel to you? Are you challenged or frightened, or 
is some other emotion called up in you? 

5. Whom or what are you trying to rescue by your behavior? Is 
it someone else or a part of yourself? Why does the rescue 
seem necessary? 

6. For what or whom are you willing to fight? Is it easier for vou 
to be a warrior on your own behalf or to fight for others? 

Daydream 

Winning the Goal 

Imagine something of great value that you want very much. It 
could be an object, a person, an honor or position, or anything that 
has a strong attraction for you. Imagine yourself mounting a cam- 
paign to get it, using all the firepower you can muster. Your fire- 
power might be guns and tanks and grenades or it might be words, 
the wielding of political influence, making others feel guilty, etc. 
Whatever your means, imagine yourself fighting as long and hard as 



186 / THE HERO WITHIN 

you need to attain that goal. If you feel resistance to such no-holds- 
barred fighting, remember this is only a daydream, not reality. When 
you have succeeded in attaining your goal, take time to let yourself 
really enjoy it and to process whatever feelings you may have about 
doing so. 



Fantasy 

Confronting Your Dragon 

Return to the heroic landscape you discovered in the Wanderer 
Fantasy: The Call to the Quest. It is best to go there and to return 
by the same route you did before, unless you feel a particular call 
to another mode of travel or another route. In this landscape you 
will confront your dragon, but first you need to be aware of what 
weapon and shield you carry and what kind of armor if any you are 
wearing. Take some time to shore up your courage and your resolve. 

When you are ready, be aware of your dragon, ahead in the dis- 
tance. Take note of the dragon's appearance size, shape, color. As 
it comes nearer, be aware of its sounds and smells and its feel, and 
look carefully for some sign of vulnerability. Then, gathering to- 
gether all your courage and skill, proceed to confront that dragon 
and to slay it or in some other way render it harmless. Take all the 
time you need. Since dragons almost always guard a treasure, look 
around after you have confronted your dragon for the treasure that 
is there for your taking. The treasure may be a traditional one 
jewels, a pot of gold or something very different. Whatever it is, 
you may take it back with you as you return to ordinary reality. If 
you fail to confront your dragon in a way that satisfies you, return 
another day. Keep trying (with time in between) until you feel good 
about what happened in your fantasy. 

Meditation 
Righting Wrongs 

Spend some time meditating about the great social problems, such 
as the threat of nuclear war or environmental hazards or alienation 
or world hunger or whatever is a major problem in your eyes. Then 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 187 

be aware of what seem to you to be the major problems for your 
own community, for the organizations with which you are associated, 
and for your family and friends. Then consider these three questions: 
(1) If you had the power to act to do something substantial to help 
find a solution to even one of these problems, would you do so? (2) 
Is there something you could be doing that might really make a 
difference? (3) If so, imagine a workable strategy for doing so. 

Activities 

1. Share the above exercises with an individual or a group. 

2. To learn to feel a Warrior stance in one's body, it is helpful 
to do Warrior in some physical way. Try one or more of the 
following as a way to build your orientation to strength, con- 
fidence, courage, and achievement: Take up a competitive sport 
like tennis, football, baseball, softball, wrestling, volleyball, or 
track; adopt a competitive attitude toward your daily exercise 
whether jogging, calisthenics, or yoga by setting goals for 
yourself and marking your achievement; or study a martial art 
like judo, aikido, or karate. 

3. Integral to the Warrior spirit is the urge for self-improvement. 
Decide on goals in some part of your life and set up a plan to 
achieve them. This can mean a diet, a plan for career devel- 
opment, or a disciplined strategy to break a bad habit. If pos- 
sible, enlist the support of a friend, a professional, or a group 
in helping you monitor your progress. 

4. Play chess or other games of strategy with a friend, your fam- 
ily, or your group. Develop strategies at home or at work to 
get what you want. You may wish to read books that focus on 
issues of strategy (in sports, military action, careers, politics). 

5. Develop the habit of self-assertion. Notice how often or how 
rarely you speak and act in ways that assert what you want, 
what you believe in, and what you value. Role play with an 
individual or group to sharpen your assertiveness skills. Re- 
member to make good eye contact, adopt a strong body pos- 
ture, and clearly state what you want from the other person as 
concisely and directly as possible. If you have difficulty with 
assertiveness, sign up for an assertiveness training class. 



188 / THE HERO WITHIN 

6. Make a point for a designated period of time perhaps a 
week not to let slights or wrongs go by. If you are wrongfully 
issued a traffic ticket, fight it, don't pay it. If you are slighted, 
stand up for yourself. If you see someone else being insulted 
or mistreated, don't just stand idly by, do something. If it is 
safe to do so, intervene. If not, take action to see that appro- 
priate authorities are called in. Write a letter to your state or 
national representative. Organize neighbors or coworkers to re- 
dress a wrong. Begin with a small, easily attainable stand and 
move up to ones that require more courage and risk. Enlist the 
support of a friend or a group in your efforts, either simply to 
monitor your progress or to actually help you achieve your goal. 

Advanced Exercise 

Indentify someone in your life who seems like an antagonist, per- 
haps even an enemy. Ideally this should be someone you have not 
learned how to deal with effectively. Ask an individual or group to 
help you empathize with this person, to fully experience his or her 
point of view, thoughts, and feelings. Then clearly state your po- 
sition, feelings, thoughts, and, most of all, what you would like to 
have happen with this other person. Then, together with the indi- 
vidual or group, brainstorm possibilities for win- win solutions that 
are not based upon compromise. 

A true win-win solution is found when both people get what they 
want by moving to a deeper level of awareness of what their real 
needs and desires are. For example, Nan was new in her executive 
position and was trying to prove herself. Hank was feeling threatened 
by the attention she was getting and began attacking her to make 
himself look good, since he was bucking for a promotion. Nan's 
group helped her find appropriate strategy to get them both out of 
this bind. They also helped her find language that Hank could hear. 
She tried it and he bought it. Instead of competing with each other, 
Hank and Nan remembered they were on the same team and would 
concentrate on achieving the team's goals. This meant that Hank 
would help her learn the ropes, and while he would continue to 
debate with her on issues, he would do so in ways that suggested 
his respect for her abilities. Nan, in turn, while she continued to 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 189 

debate issues with him. agreed to treat him with the respect due a 
senior colleague. The win- win here is that both got more than they 
would have with their initial strategy of conflict, which was under- 
mining team morale and making them both look unprofessional. 

Undertake an experiment for no less than a day and no more than 
a week in which you strive for genuine win-win solutions (not simply 
compromises) in every situation in which conflict presents itself. 



190 / THE HERO WITHIN 



Martyr 



Journal Exercises 

1. How much care and responsibility do you have in your life? 
Whom do you take care of? Do you feel genuinely responsible 
for some people? If so, who are they? Are there people you 
choose to give to or take care of? If so, who are they? Do you 
sometimes give just because someone asks for something? 

2. What were you taught as a child about care and sacrifice? What 
messages do you receive now from parents, children, friends, 
your partner, your work environment, and the culture at large? 
What messages do you give others about giving and sacrificing? 

3. Have any sacrifices you have made felt maiming and harmful 
to yourself or others? Have any felt good, transformative, or 
clarifying? Describe both with the goal of identifying what cir- 
cumstances produce which result. 

4. What or who is worth your sacrifice? How much sacrifice is 
appropriate for you to give? In what situations does sacrifice 
seem warranted? 

5. Are you able consistently to say no to requests from others that 
do not fit for you? Are you able consistently to take respon- 
sibility for choosing to give or sacrifice, so that you do not feel 
put upon and do not need to make others feel guilty? Are there 
changes you would like to make in regard to the way you give 
to others? What are they? 

6. Are you able to acknowledge and accept gifts or even sacrifices 
from others when they are offering (with no strings attached) 
something you genuinely want or need? Are you able to decline 
gifts and sacrifices that you either do not want or that come 
with inappropriate and unwanted strings attached? Are there 
changes you would like to make in regard to your response to 
gifts and sacrifices offered to you? If so, what are they? 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 191 

Daydream 
Plenty to Share 

Imagine that you had infinite resources to share: time, money, 
wisdom. You do not have to work, so you spend your time wan- 
dering through the world helping anyone in need. Imagine the sit- 
uations you encounter, the help you provide, the gratitude of the 
recipients of your generosity. 

Fantasy 

Giving Your Gift 

Find your way back through what is now your habitual way to the 
heroic landscape you discovered in the Wanderer and Warrior fan- 
tasies. This time you feel very at home in this world and safer be- 
cause, after all, you have confronted your dragon. Take time to look 
around and to notice any changes in the landscape or in your own 
garb or general demeanor. This time you will be meeting someone 
old and very wise. Open up to finding this guide and to knowing 
where he or she resides. Let yourself be aware what this creature 
looks like, sounds like, smells and feels like. This ancient being feels 
compelled to tell you that you have a particular gift to give that is 
important to the well-being of the planet. In some way, she or he 
will communicate perhaps in words or symbols or a gift or some 
other manner what it is you will need to give or contribute. When 
you have received the message, return to ordinary reality the way 
you came. 

Meditation 

What I Would Sacrifice For 

Meditate, as you did with the Warrior, about the major problems 
around you those of the planet, your country, your community, 
organizations with which you are associated, the people you love. 
If any of these problems could be solved by your making a major 
sacrifice of your life, your time, or your possessions would you 
be willing to make that sacrifice? Consider seriously what sacrifices 



192 / THE HERO WITHIN 

might appropriately be asked of you and which of them you would 
be willing to make if you were relatively sure they would have a 
genuinely transformative, positive effect. 

Activities 

1. Share the above experiences with an individual or group. 

2. Organize a give-away ritual as described on page 113 of the 
Martyr chapter. 

3. Become active in a church, temple, charitable organization, or 
other group striving to do good in the world through giving to 
others. 

4. Practice asking for what you want from others, being willing 
to take no for an answer. If you have been sharing these ex- 
ercises and activities with an individual or group, start asking 
for what you want there. Also, enlist the individual or .group's 
support in helping to clarify what it is you want and in learning 
to ask in a nonmanipulative, clear way. 

5. Practice taking responsibility for your giving and sacrificing. 
Give and sacrifice only when it feels appropriate to you and 
when you feel it will actually be of help. This means gaining 
skills in saying no to others' demands that don't seem appro- 
priate and also in saying yes without any strings attached when 
you do, genuinely, want to help someone else. Again, ideally 
you can begin with the individual or group you have been shar- 
ing with and can enlist their support in helping you to extend 
any new behaviors to the larger world. 

Advanced Exercise 

With another person, with a group, or by yourself, think seriously 
about what you want to give and contribute to others or to the larger 
social good. Let yourself know what sacrifices (of time, money, etc.) 
might be involved, and whether you care enough about this issue to 
make such sacrifices. If so, plan what you need to do and carry out 
your plan. 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 193 



Magician 



Journal Exercises 



1 . Write a brief description of your life right now and how you, 
out of the wisdom of your being, have created this life. If you 
don't like certain elements of your life, describe the good that 
will eventually accrue from even these less desired parts of your 
reality. 

2. What is your Shadow? You can get a clue by what qualities 
drive you crazy in others. What might you do to begin to in- 
tegrate the Shadow into your psyche? 

3. When have you experienced synchronicity (acausal but mean- 
ingful coincidence) in your life? What did you tell yourself 
about such events? Have you been willing to talk to others 
about these events? If not, why not? 

4. Describe a time in your life when you had a vision or image 
of what you wanted to happen and you got it without your 
having to make it happen. What did you tell yourself about 
this event? What did you feel? 

5. Whom and what do you love? What makes your heart sing? 
What do you find hard to love in yourself or others? Are there 
any ways that you would like to expand those limits? 

6. If you were completely authentic and true to your deepest or 
highest feelings and perceptions in every moment, would you 
act in any way different from how you are acting now? 

7. If you were completely faithful to your dreams for your own 
life and those around you, what would you do? 

Daydream 

Creating My Own Life 

Imagine you had a magic wand and could change anything in the 
world you wanted for yourself and others. Allow yourself to imagine 
what you would change, and, staying in a dreamy state of mind, 
allow the drama to unfold in your mind so that you witness the effects 



194 / THE HERO WITHIN 

of your magical work. Allow yourself some time to process the re- 
sults to enjoy your successes and to regret any miscreations. 



Fantasy 

Gaining Magical Powers 

Once again return by your usual route to your heroic landscape 
and pay attention to your surroundings and to yourself. Have either 
you or the landscape changed since you last visited this world? This 
time you will be visiting a great Magician who will teach you magical 
powers. You need to learn them because you will be sent to free a 
kingdom from an evil curse placed on it by a wicked sorcerer. As 
a result of this curse, the kingdom is a wasteland: Crops are not 
coming up, babies are not being born, people feel alienated and dis- 
pirited, and the economy is in shambles. 

Allow your imagination to run free. Imagine the Magician's castle 
or tower or hut. Imagine what he or she looks like. Imagine what 
and how the Magician teaches you. Finally, let your fancy have free 
reign as you experience your own journey to the wasteland kingdom 
and watch the way you undo the wicked sorcerer's curse. Allow 
yourself to feel your frustration with any initial setbacks, and to enjoy 
your ultimate success. Then return back to normal reality by your 
usual route. 

Meditation 
Creating Your Life 

Imagine yourself being totally true to your deepest desires and in 
the process creating magnetism that draws everything you need to 
you. Allow yourself to watch as you let go of addictions as well as 
superficial or lesser desires to make room for your deepest longings. 
As your fidelity to your deepest yearnings grows, imagine the change 
in your actions and presence and what you attract in the process. If 
any fear, despair, or cynicism emerges during this exercise, just let 
it go to make way for your more genuine sense of empowerment. 
Open up to receiving more cosmic support for everything you do. 
Finally, envision your changes as having a positive impact on those 



EXERCISES FOR THE HERO WITHIN / 195 

around you, and before returning to normal consciousness ask your- 
self this question: Would I be willing to be completely true to my 
deepest, wisest self if this or something better would be the outcome? 



Activities 

1. Share the exercises above with an individual or your group. 

2. Create as clear and detailed a vision as you can of what you 
want to manifest in your life. Share this vision with a group. 
Ask if they can entirely endorse that vision. If not, find out 
why not, and make suitable adjustments if they seem warranted. 
When everyone can agree to support that vision for you, ask 
the entire group to strongly imagine your attaining that vision. 
In case the universe has in mind for you something even better 
than what you have envisioned, it is generally best to say, as 
you strongly image what you desire, "This, or something 
better." Then give thanks together that you, at some level, have 
already brought forth that vision. 

3. Keep a clear vision before you of what you want to manifest 
in your life. Representing it in some concrete form a picture, 
symbol, or metaphor as well as imaging it in your mind will 
make it more real. Then begin giving thanks daily that you 
have manifested the vision. Do not worry at all if there are no 
tangible signs of it in your life. By affirming that you already 
have what you need, you instruct your unconscious mind to 
begin attracting the vision for you. 

4. Enlist an individual or group to help you work on your Shadow 
issues. After having identified your Shadow by noting what you 
abhor in others, begin by opening up to appreciate those qual- 
ities, to see what others might get out of them. Then con- 
sciously send love to people who act that way and to the re- 
pressed Shadow part of you. Be open to witnessing and 
honoring the transformation that will result. Reciprocate with 
others. 

5. Begin listening to your internal conversation. If you note your- 
self making negative comments about yourself, others, or 
events, stop and turn the statement into a positive one. For 
example, if you find yourself thinking, "I'll never attract the 



196 / THE HERO WITHIN 

kind of person I want to love; I'm short, fat, and not that 
bright," turn the statement into, 4 Tm attractive in mind and 
body, and I attract to me people equally as attractive." Allow 
yourself to feel the negative emotions that surround the first 
statement and the positive ones that surround the second one. 
If at first you are too skeptical to have good feelings about your 
positive statement, play around with it until you find a form 
that does make you feel good. For example, if you are not 
ready to see yourself as attractive yet, you might say, ^l eat 
small amounts of healthy food and I study good books, so I 
am attracting love from people who also care about health and 
intelligence." 

6. Give an individual or group permission to challenge you if it 
appears you are using the Magician's tools for ego aggran- 
dizement or to avoid other parts of the journey. Listen closely 
if they challenge you and assess whether what they perceive 
might be true. Always be ready to bow to greater wisdom with- 
out in any way moving away from your own power. 

Advanced Exercise 

Create a ritual to celebrate your commitment to expressing your 
full power and creativity in the world in the next phase of your life. 
You may wish to do this ritual alone, but ideally it would involve 
others, partly because collective ritual is more powerful and partly 
because it helps galvanize the support of others for your new mode 
of being. Trust your intuition to let you know what should be in- 
cluded as part of the ritual. There are no rules. Do what seems right 
to you. 



Appendix A: 

Self-Test 

Discover the Archetypes Dominant in Your Life 

Indicate how frequently the following statements reflect your attitudes 
by scoring them from to 4: Never = 0; Seldom = 1; Sometimes = 2; 
Frequently = 3; Always = 4. After taking the test, see columns below 
that categorize the statements into archetypes. Total your score in 
each category. Nine or more in each suggests that the archetype is 
active in your life; fifteen or more suggests it is very active. 

1. It's important to be careful. Other people will cheat you 

when they can. 

2. I find that when I change my attitudes my environment 

changes. 

3. Most important to me right now are identity issues. I'm 

not sure who I am. 

4. I push hard to prove myself and to succeed. 

5. The world is good and I am safe and cared for. 

6. I feel very alone, but it gives me satisfaction to see that 

I can make it on my own. 

7. The most important thing is loving. 



198 / APPENDIXES 

8. I often feel disappointed in or betrayed by other people. 

_ All seeming problems really are illusions. I can assert 
God's love/the perfection of the universe and once again 
see that all is well. 

10. I am very competitive and really enjoy winning. 

11. Times have been rough, but I've learned to cope. 

12. I find out about my own shadow self by what upsets me 

in others. 

13. I use drugs/alcohol to get high and feel better. (Or: I use 

shopping, work, or frantic activity to divert myself from 
problems.) 

14. I expect people I meet to be trustworthy. 

15. When challenged, I stand up for myself and, if necessary, 

fight to defend myself. 

16. I'm in a new job/doing my job differently/undertaking a 

new course of study. 

17. I expect to be loved and cared for. 

18. 1 struggle hard for the causes/ideas/values I believe in and 

_ against those that are wrong or harmful. 

19. I frequently give people more than I get back. 

20. What I really want is someone to take care of me, but 

there is no one who will/can really care for me. 

21. When I am betrayed or unjustly treated, it reminds me to 

take pains to be fair to others. 



APPENDIXES / 199 

22. I love to travel/study/experiment because I find I learn 

about myself and the world when I do. 

23. I see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. 

24. I feel most myself when I'm creating something new. 

25. I want my life to make a difference, to make a mark on 

the world. 

26. When I stay calm and centered, others seem quieted too. 

27. If others could just see the light, they could have as won- 
derful a life as I do. 

28. Since I've changed, my world has changed radically. Years 

ago, I would not have imagined things would turn out so 
well. 

29. I think I'm justified in feeling superior to other people: I'm 

smarter, or better educated, or stronger, or more disci- 
plined, or hardworking, or have better values, or because 
of my sex, my racial or ethnic heritage, my class, rny 
accomplishments, my beliefs. 

30. Tragedies (accidents, illnesses) often happen to me and 

those around me. 

3 1 . I work hard but do not expect to be rewarded or appreciated 

adequately for what I do. 

32. If I could only win that jackpot, all my problems would 

be solved. 

33. I feel good about myself and grateful for my life. 

34. I would like to be more appreciated by others. 



200 / APPENDIXES 

35. I'll do whatever life requires of me. I want to make what- 
ever contribution I can. 

36. I sometimes avoid or sabotage intimacy with others in or- 
der to maintain my freedom. 



APPENDIXES / 201 



Innocent 

#5 

9 

14 

17 

23 

27 

Total 



Orphan 



Martyr 

#7 

19 

21 

31 

34 

35 

Total 



13 
20 
30 
32 
Total 



Magician 

#2 

12 

24 

26 

28 

33 

Total 



Wanderer 

#3 

6 

11 

16 

22 

36 



Total 



Warrior 

#4 

10 

15 

18 

25 

29 

Total 



To see the relative importance of each archetype in your life, chart 
your scores on the grid below. 



24 
23 
22 
21 
20 
19 
18 
17 
16 
15 
14 
13 
12 
11 
10 
9 
8 
7 
6 
5 
4 
3 
2 
1 



























































Innocent Orphan Wanderer Warrior Martyr Magician 



Appendix B: 



Guildelines for Members of Hero Within Groups 

1. Take full responsibility for your own journey. Others can 
guide and support you but only you can find your own grail, 
your own truth. 

2. Whether or not the group has a leader, take your own share 
of responsibility for the effectiveness and health of the group. 
This means helping to keep the group focused on its task, and 
it also means paying attention to group process to be certain 
that the task does not get done at the cost of healthy rela- 
tionships in the group. 

3. Honor your own process and that of others. Let it be okay for 
members to be in different places and to see different truths. 
Remember, whatever truth there may be is certainly beyond 
any of our subjective truths. We are all like the proverbial 
blind men, each touching, respectively, a different part of the 
elephant and trying to describe the whole animal. We need 
all our perceptions. 

4. Use "I" statements. ("When you say . . . , I feel . . . ." not 
"That is wrong/stupid," or worse, "You lousy . . . .") 

5. Try to be mindful of others' likely feelings or reactions. This 
does not mean one should avoid conflict. It may mean, how- 
ever, remembering to reassure others of one's respect, regard, 
or even affection when sharing a perspective that they might 
take as hostile to their own stance. Or it may simply mean 
remembering to be tactful. If you feel hurt or crazy or angry 
in response to what someone else says or does, tell them di- 
rectly but also as empathically as possible. Never talk about 
group members behind their backs. If something bothers you, 
be forthright in raising it in the group. 



204 / APPENDIXES 

6. Sometimes it is not appropriate to be tactful. Perhaps you are 
experimenting with a new way of acting for instance, you 
want to break a family taboo against acting angry or bitchy. 
Then tell the group what you are doing, so people will not 
unnecessarily be thrown by your actions. 

7. Talk with and to one another, not just to the leader (if you 
have one). Help one another when you feel someone needs 
comforting, reassurance, support, challenging, or encourage- 
ment to be more honest or confrontational. 

8. Take responsibility for trying to get your needs met. Do not 
assume others (including any leader) can read your mind. Say 
what you want and need, but also be aware that you cannot 
always have everything you ask for (although asking certainly 
ups the odds of success). 

9. Joumeyers are equals. Even if your group has a designated 
leader, bring your full wisdom to the group. Do not disem- 
power yourself by waiting for someone else to know what you 
know or see what you see. Often what we find missing in any 
group is what we alone could provide. 

10. Take responsibility for group decisions. If the group decided 
to do something you did not want to do, take responsibility 
for not speaking up (if you didn't) or not being persuasive 
enough to change the decision (if you did). In short, take 
responsibility for being part of the decision-making process. 
If you would like things to go a different way, don't just 
complain. Bring it up to the group as persuasively and con- 
structively as you can. 

1 1 . Take responsibility for your own participation or nonpartici- 
pation. Do what fits for you and not what does not. Use your 
creativity to tailor exercises or activities to your own style, 
priorities, and needs. Ask for assistance from others when you 
need it. 

12. Stay in touch with your deeper, wiser self to know if you 
should be in this particular group or not. If you believe you 
should, then be as fully present as you can. If not, go where 
you heart leads you. 



Appendix C: 

The Twelve Steps of A.A. 

1 . We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives 
had become unmanageable. 

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could 
restore us to sanity. 

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care 
of God as we understood Him. 

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being 
the exact nature of our wrongs. 

6. Were entirely ready .to have God remove all these defects of 
character. 

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing 
to make amends to them all. 

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except 
when to do so would injure them or others. 

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were 
wrong promptly admitted it. 

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our con- 
scious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only 
for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that 
out. 

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, 
we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice 
these principles in all our affairs. 



Taken from Alcoholics Anonymous, copyright 1939 by Alcoholics Anonymous 
World Services, Inc. Reprinted by permission of AA World Services, Inc. 



NOTES 



Preface 

1. Carol Pearson and Katherine Pope, eds., Who Am I This Time? Female Portraits 
in American and British Literature (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1976). 

2. Pearson and Pope, The Female Hero In American and British Literature (New 
York. R.R. Bowker and Co., 1981). 

3. Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York: World Publishing 
Co., 1970). 

4. Carol Gilhgan, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Devel- 
opment (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981). 

5. Jessie Bernard, The Female World (New York: The Free Press, 1981). 

6. Anne Wilson Schaef, Women's Reality: An Emerging Female System in the White 
Male Society (Minneapolis, Minn.: Winston Press, 1981). 

7. Shirley Gehrke Luthman, Collections and Energy and Personal Power (San Ra- 
fael, Calif.: Mehetabel and Co., 1971 and 1982, respectively). 

8. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great 
Goddess (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979) and Dreaming the Dark: Magic, 
Sex & Politics (Boston: Beacon Press, 1982). 

9. Gerald G. Jampolsky, Love Is Letting Go of Fear (Millbrae, Calif.: Celestial Arts, 
1979). 

10. W. Bmgh Joy, Joy's Way. A Map for the TransformationalJournev (Los Angeles: 
1 P. Tardier, Inc., 1979). 

11. See James Hillman, Re-Visionmg Psychology (New York: Harper Colophon 
Books, 1975) for a full discussion of the premises of archetypal psychology. 

12. William Perry, Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College 
Years: A Scheme (New York; Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970). 

13. Lawrence Kohlberg, The Philosophy of Moral Development (San Francisco: Har- 
per & Row, 1981). 



Introduction 

1 . For an introduction to Jungian psychology, see Edward C. Whitmont, The Symbolic 
Quest: Basic Concepts of Analytical Psychology (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Uni- 
versity Press, 1969) 



Chapter 1 

1 . Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York: World Publishing 
Co., 1970), p. 136. 



208 / THE HERO WITHIN 

2. Carol S. Pearson and Kathenne Pope, eds., Who Am I This Time? Female Por- 
traits in American and British Literature (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 
1976) and Pearson and Pope, The Female Hero in American and British Literature 
(New York: R. R. Bowker and Co., 1981). 

3 Carol Gilhgan, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Devel- 
opment (Cambridge, Mass.. Harvard University Press, 1982), passim. 

4. See Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing (Palo Alto, Calif.: Consulting Psychol- 
ogists Press, 1980) for a full discussion of differences by type. 

5. Box-Car Bertha, Sister of the Road: The Autobiography of Box-Car Bertha, as 
told to Dr Ben L. Reitman (New York: Harper & Row, 1937), p. 280. 

6. Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (New York. Bantam Books 1975) n 
278. ' H " 

7. Hamette Araow, The Dollmaker (New York: Avon Books, 1972). 

8. Shirley Gehrke Luthman, Energy and Personal Power (San Rafael, Calif.: Me- 
hetabel and Co , 1982), pp. 56-69. 

9. See Anne Wilson Schaef, Women's Reality: An Emerging Female System in the 
White Male Society (Minneapolis, Minn.. Winston Press, 1981), pp. 146-160, 
for a complete discussion of the concept of "levels of truth." 

10. Philip Slater, The Pursuit of Loneliness: American Culture and the Breaking Point 
(New York: Beacon Press, 1976), pp. 105-123. 



Chapter 2 

1. Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), passim. 

2. Dorothy Dinnerstein, The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and 
Human Malaise (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), passim. 

3. Ntozake Shange,/or colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow 
is enw/(New York. Macmillan Publishing Co. 1976), pp. 26-28. 

4. See William Perry, Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College 
Years (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968) for a full discussion of the 
stages of cognitive development in young adults. 

5. Elisabeth Kubier-Ross,Dfa//2:r/2fF/na/Sr^g^o/Grovv'r/z(Englewcxxi Cliffs NJ- 
Prentice-Hall, 1975). 

6. A Course in Miracles is available from the Foundation for Inner Peace, PO. Box 
" 365, Tiburon, Calif. 94920. 

7. T. S. Eliot, "Four Quartets," The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950 (New 
York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1962), p. 145. 



Chapter 3 

1 . Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Devel- 
opment (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982), passim. 

2. Daniel J. Levinson, The Seasons of a Mans Life (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 
1978), passim. 

3. Enca Jong, How to Save Your Own Life (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston 
1977), p. 243. 

4. See Jessie Weston, From Ritual to Romance (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1957) 
for a fuller discussion of this pattern. 



NOTES / 209 

5. Jean M. Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear (New York: Bantam Books, 1980), passim. 

6. Auel, Valley of the Horses (New York. Bantam Books, 1982), passim. 



Chapter 4 

1 David W Johnson and Frank P. Johnson, Joining Together. Group Theory and 
Group Skills (Englewood Cliffs, N 1: Prentice-Hall, 1975), pp. 1-33. 

2. Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr , In Search of Excellence: Lessons 
from America' s Best Run Companies (New York: Warner Books, 1982), pp. 235- 
278 

3 Betty Harragan, Games Mother Never Taught You: Corporate Gamesmanship for 
Women (New York* Warner Books, 1978), passim. 

Anne Wilson Schaef, Women's Reality- An Emerging Female System in a White 
Male Society (Minneapolis, Minn.: Winston Press, 1981), passim. 
Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice Psychological Theory and Women's Devel- 
opment (Cambridge, Mass/: Harvard University Press, 1982), passim. 

4. Ursula K. Le Gum, A Wizard of Earthsea (New York: Bantam Books, 1968), 
passim. 

5. Gilligan, pp. 24-63. 

6. Schaef, pp. 134-135. 

7. Susan Griffin, Women and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (New York: Harper 
Colophon Books, 1978), pp. 193-194. 

8. Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976) 
p. 130. 

9. John Irving, Hotel New Hampshire (New York: Pocket Books, 1981), p. 403. 
10. Tom Brown, Jr., The Search (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.. Prentice-Hall, 1980) 

p.171. 



Chapter 5 

1 . Carol Ochs, Behind the Sex of God: Toward a New Consciousness Transcending 
Matriarchy and Patriarchy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1977), pp. 31-46. 

2. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. F. N Robinson (Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin, 1957). 

3. Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (New York: Dell, 1955), p. 414. 

4. Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (New York: Pocket Books, 1973), 
p. 191. 



Chapter 6 

1. See Carl G. Jung, Man and His Symbols (New York: Dell, 1968), pp. 1-94, for 
a discussion of Jungian psychology and the Shadow. 

2. Ursula Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea (New York: Bantam Books, 1968), p 
180. 

3. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore (New York: Bantam Books, 1972), p. 180. 

4. Phillip Ressner, Jerome the Frog (New York: Parent's Magazine, 1967). 

5. Madeleine UEngle, The Wind in the Door (New York: Dell, 1978), p. 205. 



210 / THE HERO WITHIN 

6. Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Boston. Houghton Miffiin, 1976), 
p. 43. 

7. Robbins, p. 239. 

8. May Sarton, Joanna and Ulysses (New York: Norton, 1968), passim. 

9. William Willeford, The Fool and His Sceptor: A Study of Clowns and Jesters 
and Their Audiences (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1969), pp. 156- 
157. 

10. Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (New York: Dell, 1955), p. 342. 

11. Claremont De Castilejo, Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology (New York: 
C. J. Jung Foundation, 1973), p. 178. 

12. Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 
1983), pp. 875-876. 

13. Shirley Gehrke Luthman, Collections 1978 (San Rafael, Calif., Mehetabel and 
Co., 1979), p. 14. 

14. Luthman, Energy and Personal Power (San Rafael, Calif., Mehetabel and Co., 
1982), pp. 33-34. 

15. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle (Princeton, N.J.: Bollingen 
Paperback Edition, 1973), passim. 

16. See Luthman's Collections 1978 for a more complete discussion of how mirroring 
works. 

17. Matthew Fox, Whee! We, Wee All the Way Home: A Guide to a Sensual Prophetic 
Spirituality (Santa Fe: Bear & Co., 1981). 

-18. Margaret Drabble, The Realms of Gold (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), p. 
29. 

19. See Manon Weinstein, Positive Magic (Custer, Wash.: Phoenix Pub., 1981), for 
a discussion of affirmations and for the text of the "perfect happiness" affirmation. 

20. Madonna Kolbenschlag, Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye (New York: Bantam 
Books, 1981), p. 218. 

21. Margaret Atwood, Lady Oracle (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976), passim. 

22. See Anne Wilson Schaef s "Living in Process" book in progress for a full dis- 
cussion of what it means to "live in process." Tapes available from the Learning 
Center for Healing Process, #8 Wild Tiger Lane, Sugar Loaf Star Rt., Boulder, 
Colo. 80303. 

23. Alice Walker, The Color Purple (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), 
pp. 167-168. 

24. Starhawk, in a "Creating Rituals Workshop," Institute in Culture and Creation 
Spirituality, Philadelphia, Penn., August 1984. 

25. Mary Staton, From the Legend of Biel (New York: Ace Books, 1975), passim. 

26. Le Guin, The Dispossessed (New York: Avon Books, 1975), p. 242. 

Chapter 7 

1. Jessie Weston, From Ritual to Romance (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1957), 
passim. 

2. Dorothy Norman, The Hero: Myth/Image/Symbol (New York: New American Li- 
brary, 1969), p. 12. 

3. Joseph Campbell, The Hero with A Thousand Faces (New York: World Publishing 
Co., 1970), p. 12. 

4. James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 
1975), p. ix. 




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